Laudato Si 115: Modern Anthropocentrism

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Twenty-two numbered sections constitute the third section of Chapter Three, “THE CRISIS AND EFFECTS OF MODERN ANTHROPOCENTRISM.

115. Modern anthropocentrism has paradoxically ended up prizing technical thought over reality, since “the technological mind sees nature as an insensate order, as a cold body of facts, as a mere ‘given’, as an object of utility, as raw material to be hammered into useful shape; it views the cosmos similarly as a mere ‘space’ into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference”.[Romano Guardini, Das Ende der Neuzeit, 63 (The End of the Modern World, 55).]

The ultimate degradation of people and nature as users and something to be used. St John Paul suggested human beings do not escape self-harm by their abuse of others:

The intrinsic dignity of the world is thus compromised. When human beings fail to find their true place in this world, they misunderstand themselves and end up acting against themselves: “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given, but, man too is God’s gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed”.[Centesimus Annus 38]

About catholicsensibility

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