Laudato Si 217: “Internal Deserts”

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. The Holy Father is known for his turn of phrase, but here he cites his predecessor’s first homily as pope:

217. “The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast”.[Benedict XVI, Homily for the Solemn Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry (24 April 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 710]

Pope Francis puts ecological concerns front-and-center for a virtuous life:

For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.

Many Christians take one or a small number of aspects, or even causes. And we promote them, or we promote ourselves as projhected upon them, and we ignore other realities. Will those “prayerful and committed” Christians take heed? Or does the cause for the environment and human dignity seem too vast–and someone else’s “thing”?


About catholicsensibility

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