Laudato Si 142: Concern for the Quality of Life

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Wrapping up the subheading “Environmental, economic and social ecology,” let’s read, first with Pope Benedict XVI:

142. If everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions has consequences for the environment and the quality of human life. “Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment”.[Caritas in Veritate 51]

Humans are social beings, so naturally our interactions with each other are deeply rooted and have cause and effect:

In this sense, social ecology is necessarily institutional, and gradually extends to the whole of society, from the primary social group, the family, to the wider local, national and international communities. Within each social stratum, and between them, institutions develop to regulate human relationships. Anything which weakens those institutions has negative consequences, such as injustice, violence and loss of freedom. A number of countries have a relatively low level of institutional effectiveness, which results in greater problems for their people while benefiting those who profit from this situation.

As power devolves from people, it is taken up by governments or others with resources and power.

Whether in the administration of the state, the various levels of civil society, or relationships between individuals themselves, lack of respect for the law is becoming more common.

I’d say it goes beyond lack of respect for law. Incivility across modern culture also shows a lack of respect for tradition and courtesy. But yes, we know from experience in my country that the 1% openly flaunt the law–we’ve seen in out in the open since 2008.

Laws may be well framed yet remain a dead letter. Can we hope, then, that in such cases, legislation and regulations dealing with the environment will really prove effective? We know, for example, that countries which have clear legislation about the protection of forests continue to keep silent as they watch laws repeatedly being broken. Moreover, what takes place in any one area can have a direct or indirect influence on other areas. Thus, for example, drug use in affluent societies creates a continual and growing demand for products imported from poorer regions, where behavior is corrupted, lives are destroyed, and the environment continues to deteriorate.

For those addicted to things other than power, we see a deep indulgence for addiction that has consequences beyond one’s family, co-workers, and neighborhood.

Comments on any of this?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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