Laudato Si 117: Neglecting Harm We Inflict

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. This is a straightforward assessment:

117. Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.

It’s not just a matter of virtue. The technocratic paradigm didn’t come into ascendancy through a casual approach to science. Attention to detail is essential in the spheres of science and engineering. Neglect of details–especially when there is potential for great harm–is lazy and narcissistic.

Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for “instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, (people set themselves) up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature”.[Centesimus Annus 37]

To be sure, St John Paul’s suggest of an environment at war with people isn’t necessarily attaching a consciousness or anything to “Gaia” in the sense of wreaking revenge on humans. It is a simple matter of consequences for actions. Agree, or not?

About catholicsensibility

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