Papal Encyclical Laudato Si’
“We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ Encyclical, June 2015
Why is this important? While the popes before Francis have for decades been addressing the topic of environmental stewardship and how it relates to our lives and to social justice, in June 2015, Pope Francis’ encyclical added the weight of official authoritative Church teaching to direct the Catholic Church in matters of caring for creation.
What is a papal encyclical? A papal encyclical is an authoritative document from the Pope to the bishops and members of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis expanded the audience of this particular encyclical to “every person living on this planet” because he desired to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.” We as Catholics must carefully read, reflect, and incorporate Pope Francis’ encyclical into our parish life and our individual lives.
What does this encyclical, Laudato Si’, cover? Laudato Si’ is organized into introductory remarks and chapters that are further broken down into sections. The main chapter headings in the encyclical are:
Chapter 1: What is Happening to Our Common Home
Chapter 2: The Gospel of Creation
Chapter 3: The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis
Chapter 4: Integral Ecology
Chapter 5: Lines of Approach and Action
Chapter 6: Ecological Education and Spirituality
Resources for Laudato Si’ In addition to the many Catholic resources for caring for creation and social justice generally, there are resources on Laudato Si’ specifically. Here are just a few:
Background Info/Study Guides/Parish ministry resources for Laudato Si’:
- DSJ Bishop McGrath’s blog on the release of the encyclical
- Valley Catholic articles, 6/23/15
- Excellent list of Laudato Si’ resources on the website of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC