Laudato Si 53: Weak Responses

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Is it possible to be criticized for acknowledging ecological concerns but not making enough of an effort to correct imbalances and injustice? We’ll take a week to review Pope Francis’ criticism of those who do not do enough.

53. These situations have caused Sister Earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course.

Note that the needy and the planet are joined in the mind of the Holy Father.

Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness.

Not only is there a unity in human callousness toward the environment and those who suffer, but there is also a unity in the aspect of God, his intent for our stewardship (not exploitation), and the concerns of the environmental movements.

The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths and meeting the needs of the present with concern for all and without prejudice towards coming generations. The establishment of a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems has become indispensable; otherwise, the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm may overwhelm not only our politics but also freedom and justice.

What do you make of the diagnosis we are lacking a proper culture? Is this hoped-for culture one of legal protections alone? My sense is that something more is needed. Yes, laws are essential, and people, especially the powerful must be answerable to law and order. Perhaps we need a whole new way of thinking and interacting as a global human culture.

Your thoughts?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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