Laudato Si 210: Broadening, That Leap

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. We continue on the theme of education, or as I would term it, apprenticeship.

210. Environmental education has broadened its goals. Whereas in the beginning it was mainly centered on scientific information, consciousness-raising and the prevention of environmental risks, it tends now to include a critique of the “myths” of a modernity grounded in a utilitarian mindset (individualism, unlimited progress, competition, consumerism, the unregulated market). It seeks also to restore the various levels of ecological equilibrium, establishing harmony within ourselves, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God. Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning. It needs educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care.

I don’t intend to bad-mouth education, or intellectual information. But I think this is part of the modern trap: that we can think our way out of our problems, and why should the crisis of environment and poverty be any different? Human intellect can also be a weakness. Saint Paul, a learned man himself, lamented about the good he knew as a contrast to the evil he did.

If we aspire to the leap to the transcendant, as Pope Francis writes, we will need something that touches the whole of human perception, not just our minds.

About catholicsensibility

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