Laudato Si 78: Disposing of Myths

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

78. At the same time, Judeo-Christian thought demythologized nature. While continuing to admire its grandeur and immensity, it no longer saw nature as divine. In doing so, it emphasizes all the more our human responsibility for nature. This rediscovery of nature can never be at the cost of the freedom and responsibility of human beings who, as part of the world, have the duty to cultivate their abilities in order to protect it and develop its potential. If we acknowledge the value and the fragility of nature and, at the same time, our God-given abilities, we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress. A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing and limiting our power.

Ancient peoples saw nature as something to be feared and worshipped. As human power in the world grew, perhaps the dominance in the relationship tilted the other way. But that is just another myth. Pope Francis asks: what is the Christian view, leaving both paganism and exploitation behind.

About catholicsensibility

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