Laudato Si 119: Healing Relationships

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

119. Nor must the critique of a misguided anthropocentrism underestimate the importance of interpersonal relations.

No question that the narcissistic strain of modern culture actually works against relationships. It shouldn’t be a surprise this Ignatian principle surfaces again in this document.

Pope Francis suggests that the environmental crisis is a side effect of a greater human flaw. Would you agree?

If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships.

More than a psychological approach, Christianity in its truest sense would offer an avenue of respect and dignity:

Christian thought sees human beings as possessing a particular dignity above other creatures; it thus inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others. Our openness to others, each of whom is a “thou” capable of knowing, loving and entering into dialogue, remains the source of our nobility as human persons. A correct relationship with the created world demands that we not weaken this social dimension of openness to others, much less the transcendent dimension of our openness to the “Thou” of God. Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence.

And thus we have environmental advocacy falling into the same flawed human trap as any of our other obsessive endeavors. Thoughts?

 

About catholicsensibility

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