Laudato Si 194: Pope Benedict Advises

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. We’ll move up what was scheduled for tomorrow morning to follow through a bit more on Pope Benedict’s 2010 message for the World Day of Peace that we tyouched on in today’s post. And to clear some space for the big celebration soon to come.

Let’s read from the pope emeritus:

194. For new models of progress to arise, there is a need to change “models of global development”;[Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, 9: AAS 102 (2010), 46] this will entail a responsible reflection on “the meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its malfunctions and misapplications”.[Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, 5: AAS 102 (2010), p. 43]

Picking up on that theme, Pope Francis criticizes those who make half-hearted attempts to mollify people with empty or meaningless gestures:

It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress. Frequently, in fact, people’s quality of life actually diminishes – by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources – in the midst of economic growth. In this context, talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses. It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.

Rather than being anti-progress, it would seem we are challenged to look more realistically and more fully at what progress actually means for the human race.

Back to this document on Boxing Day.

About catholicsensibility

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