Laudato Si 116: Understanding Anthropocentrism

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

How do we interpret that sixteen-letter word? The accusation is often bandied about within the Church, one side against another, and very occasionally with merit.

In the context of culture and the environment, do we see ourselves as rightful masters and commanders of all we see? Is this authentically Judeo-Christian, or is it pagan? Read and ponder:

116. Modernity has been marked by an excessive anthropocentrism which today, under another guise, continues to stand in the way of shared understanding and of any effort to strengthen social bonds. The time has come to pay renewed attention to reality and the limits it imposes; this in turn is the condition for a more sound and fruitful development of individuals and society. An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a Promethean vision of mastery over the world, which gave the impression that the protection of nature was something that only the faint-hearted cared about. Instead, our “dominion” over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship.[Cf. Love for Creation. An Asian Response to the Ecological Crisis, Declaration of the Colloquium sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (Tagatay, 31 January-5 February 1993), 3.3.2]

Thoughts?

About catholicsensibility

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