Laudato Si 49: Cries of the Earth, of the Poor

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

49. It needs to be said that, generally speaking, there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded. Yet they are the majority of the planet’s population, billions of people. These days, they are mentioned in international political and economic discussions, but one often has the impression that their problems are brought up as an afterthought, a question which gets added almost out of duty or in a tangential way, if not treated merely as collateral damage.

Perhaps we can say that like environmental concerns, issues involving the poor don’t get attention from the 1%.

Indeed, when all is said and done, they frequently remain at the bottom of the pile. This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centers of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. They live and reason from the comfortable position of a high level of development and a quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

The Holy Father seems to be leveraging two issues here. Do you suppose it will get him much traction with people who more strongly identify with just one of these issues?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Laudato Si 49: Cries of the Earth, of the Poor

  1. Devin says:

    Within the Democratic party, you have a coalition of environmentalists and advocacy groups on behalf of the poor but these interests often come into conflict. A carbon tax would be great for the environment but hurt the poor. Coal miners and oil industry produces jobs that as of yet can’t be replaced by renewable energy jobs if ever.

    The idea of a new iPhone model arriving every year or so makes me sick to my core, but it produces jobs at home and abroad (often in poor conditions but perhaps better than the current alternative) that over wise would not be available.

  2. FrMichael says:

    Good paragraph, encapsulated in the US by such terms as “flyover country,” “gated community,” “drive-by media,” “the political elite,” “The Beltway,” and others.

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