In the freshly released encyclical Laudato si, Pope Francis , calling on his patron and namesake St Francis of Assisi, today takes from the saint his encyclical’s title and first principle, that the creation is a sacred gift, given in trust to us to care for and to foster. We are moved to praise God for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life, as is all of creation in a way.
Once again a papal encyclical has done the deep soundings and discernment needed for an intelligent and challenging analysis of these global issues from an ethical point of view. An encyclical like this goes to the deep philosophical roots of an issue and works its way up through every dimension. This work is thorough, well informed and comprehensive. It is not driven by a vested interest and not accountable to any political or lobby group. Every Christian and every citizen of the planet has much to ponder on here and for many years to come. Surely this message will have a very significant bearing on the forthcoming Paris talks. St Francis is the eco saint for our time, and this encyclical inspired by his prayers and praise will become an eco- text for our time.
The call to be good and faithful stewards and gardeners of creation comes from the book of Genesis and is implicit throughout the bible, including Psalm 104 , the Epistle to the Romans 8:18-25 and to the Colossians 1.15-17. As hoped for, Pope Francis’s words will certainly become, for many years, a defining and golden mean for those who seek a sound theological, philosophical and ethical base for a good stewardship of the earth and its destiny. Human responsibility for carbon accumulation and its effect on the global warming of the planet is taken so seriously, not because it is debatable science at all, but because it is our vocation from God to redeem the effect of human wastage and human pollution whatever their cause, because we are responsible for God’s earth, our home.
The significance of the just released Laudato Si is not limited to ecology only, because it gives divided Christians a common task. This is an ecumenical and inter faith challenge, appealing to the human will in the name of the divine will.
Archbishop Justin Welby has also contributed decisively to this challenge before us in recent days, both in his own name and with others. The Archbishop’s words have been hailed already as very clear, well informed and challenging. The carbon reduction levels described are set before us and the urgency of our calling is presented as unavoidable in every way. Once again the Pope and the Archbishop are on the same sacred page, for the sake of the life of the World as a whole.
The encyclical was anticipated by an article in Centro which may be useful reading also at this time.
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