Francis’ ecology Encyclical

Pope Francis’ ecology Encyclical “Laudato Si’ “ is out June 18th!

Laudato si - blogpic

“Laudato si’, on the care of our common home” is out June 18th! Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology and the environment is being presented by Peter Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, along with two others.  The encyclical takes as its name the title of St. Francis’ beautiful poem, Laudato Si, known in English as the Canticle of the Sun. The hymn praises God and the reflection of God’s glory in “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon,” “Brother Fire” and “Sister Water,” and “our sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.”

The encyclical is expected to bring moral clarity to the contentious subject of the environment. This papal encyclical on ecology and climate is expected to send a strong moral message:”The encyclical will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people’s life and health,” Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, told Catholic News Service.

Cantico delle Creature [Canticle of the Sun]

“Laudato sii” is the introductory phrase to eight verses of St. Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer thanking God for the gifts of creation. The canticle in the title of the encyclical is a song of praise. It is a paean of wholehearted thankfulness, not to Mother Earth, Brother Fire, and Sister Moon, but to the one who created them for man’s sustenance and enlightenment. Depending on the earth and all her creatures and plants, man in turn sublimely relies on his Creator, a dependence that inspires joyful gratitude and humility.

The “Canticle of the Sun”, also known as the “Canticle of the Creatures” or “Laudes Creaturarum (“Praise of the Creatures”), is a religious song composed by St Francis of Assisi. It was written in the Umbrian dialect of Italian but has since been translated into many languages. It is believed to be among the first works of literature, if not the first, written in the Italian language. The first lines of the original hymn read:

« Altissimu, onnipotente, bon Signoretue so’ le laude, la gloria e l’honore et onne benedictione. Ad te solo, Altissimo, se konfàno et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.

Laudato sie, mi’ Signore, cum tucte le tue creature, spetialmente messor lo frate sole, lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui. Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore, de te, Altissimo, porta significatione. …>

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To You, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and You give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness. …

This papal encyclical on the Ecology … is an encyclical on the need to care for Creation. A reflection on what every person can do, individually to help the environment.  Some have argued, the Pope shouldn’t weigh in on scientific matters. Others say, responding to climate change is no longer about science.  Now, it’s about morality. “The scientific debate is already closed. Now there’s a need to let people know what needs to be done. The Pope’s words are important in this matter because they call on everyone to respond. From other religious leaders to politicians who need to come out and say what they plan on doing about it,” said Giuseppe Onufrio, Greenpeace Director in Rome. Onufrio says the Pope needs to speak out about the issue because climate change is already affecting the most vulnerable communities- triggering droughts and hurricanes. It’s something that leads to a loss of crops, hunger and massive migration. …

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With [the encyclical’s] publication, the Church’s Magisterium takes the environmental issue to the heart of its social doctrine. The Editorial by La Civiltà Cattolica summarizes the ecological path which the Popes have indicated in the last 50 years until today. In fact, at the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis said that «to guard the entire Creation» is «a service which the Bishop of Rome is called to do». Pope Francis has always strived for the harmony among all living beings: he has an anthropological, but not anthropocentric view. His commitment leads us towards an ecological spirituality which is a spiritual and sacramental life that is not alienated from the fact that we inhabit the created world as our «home».

For the full text of the Editorial, click HERE.

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usccb.orgThe Catholic Church brings a distinct perspective to the discussion of environmental questions, by lifting up the moral dimensions of these issues and the needs of the most vulnerable among us. This unique contribution is rooted in Catholic teaching calling us to care for creation and for “the least of these.” (Mt 25:40)

The Environmental Justice Program (EJP), a program of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development, educates and motivates Catholics to a deeper reverence and respect for God’s creation, and encourages Catholics to address environmental problems, especially as they affect poor and vulnerable people.

For Church tradition & teachings on ecology & the environment, as well as updated resources and links from the USCCB, click HERE.

SGRA20-Human Ecology-JPG-draft1

For our earlier blog on ‘Ecology and Sustainability’, click HERE.

For an earlier blog about the “New Climate Economy” conference held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, click HERE.

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