Laudato Si 144: More Cultural Ecology

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

144. A consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today’s globalized economy, has a leveling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity.

And the cultures most powerful, emboldened by celebrity, money, military might, and other factors tend to think theirs is the only way.

Attempts to resolve all problems through uniform regulations or technical interventions can lead to overlooking the complexities of local problems which demand the active participation of all members of the community.

I think of that monastic tradition when a community gathers for discernment, all have the opportunity to speak, starting with the youngest.

New processes taking shape cannot always fit into frameworks imported from outside; they need to be based in the local culture itself. As life and the world are dynamic realities, so our care for the world must also be flexible and dynamic. Merely technical solutions run the risk of addressing symptoms and not the more serious underlying problems.

I think one can apply discernment to technology, but what Pope Francis seems to be getting at is the satisfaction that quick and easy answers short-circuit a deeper look.

There is a need to respect the rights of peoples and cultures, and to appreciate that the development of a social group presupposes an historical process which takes place within a cultural context and demands the constant and active involvement of local people from within their proper culture. Nor can the notion of the quality of life be imposed from without, for quality of life must be understood within the world of symbols and customs proper to each human group.

About catholicsensibility

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