Laudato Si 219: Self-Improvement Alone Does Not Suffice

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

219. Nevertheless, self-improvement on the part of individuals will not by itself remedy the extremely complex situation facing our world today. Isolated individuals can lose their ability and freedom to escape the utilitarian mindset, and end up prey to an unethical consumerism bereft of social or ecological awareness.

Individualism can be a trap. More so than ever, one can locate in the world other like-minded persons. And the community flourishes until certain aggressive impulses begin to split people apart.

Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds. This task “will make such tremendous demands of man that he could never achieve it by individual initiative or even by the united effort of men bred in an individualistic way. The work of dominating the world calls for a union of skills and a unity of achievement that can only grow from quite a different attitude”.[Romano Guardini, Das Ende der Neuzeit, 72 (The End of the Modern World¸ 65-66)] The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.

Conversion must occur on the scale of local communities.

About catholicsensibility

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