76 – Laudato si’ (III): “I would like to offer Christians a few suggestions for an ecological spirituality”

Being an important magisterial document, an Encyclical should be characterized by clear and defined ideas regarding the topic at hand, in order to delineate the path to be followed by the Hierarchy and the faithful; as well as, consequentially, by all men of good will – for the Church never ceases to be a moral reference point, even for those who don’t follow her. Which brings us to the question: how is it possible that Laudato si’ takes a position which, in certain points, contradicts the magisterial teaching of the Church regarding the ecological issue, while in other points it emphasizes these same teachings. It hurts us to say this, but it is a veritable hodgepodge of ideas…that seems suitable for such a ‘green’ encyclical.

This jumble is evident in many paragraphs that claim to disapprove of the views and principles of fundamentalist and radical ecology ( even citing documents of the preceding Magisterium regarding this topic), while at the same time leaving ample scope for ambiguities and irenicism: for example, on citing Teilhard de Chardin and the so-called ‘Earth Charter’ – documents of a dubious or manifestly pantheistic nature that do not harmonize with the doctrine of the Church on numerous points. Or even in going so far as to omit the mediation of Jesus Christ in a public and official prayer of his Vicar on earth! All of this opens the doors of the Church to the conception of an interdenominational, neo-pagan and universal religion, for it turns a blind eye to Catholic doctrine in its entirety, hiding important aspects that have already been defined, so as to come together with the world. It’s worthwhile to analyze these points and reveal these aspects, for as John Paul II so aptly affirmed, far more than the planet, the house common to all Catholics is the Holy Mother Church: ‘In the baptismal waters you were born to a new life, that inserted you within the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, the Ark of salvation and common house of those who invoke God as Father’ (John Paul II. Message to the Peoples of America, 12 de octubre 1992)

Francis

Quote A

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsI – Suspicion of the Church regarding ‘integral ecology’; a new doctrine involving an ideology which in many points opposes the teachings of the ChurchII – The ecological problems of the planet are due to the neglect of the practice of the Commandments - immutable moral principles - by the greater part of humanity.The crisis of our world is a moral crisis, therefore, only a moral conversion will resolve ecological problemsIII – An ecology of a spiritual and irenic character opens the doors toward a distortion of the Catholic religion, that must not - under the pretext of saving humanity and dialoguing with everybody, Catholics and non Catholics - adapt to ways of thinking which constitute doctrines truly contrary to immutable teachingsThe ‘Earth Charter’: a document with notoriously pantheistic overtones, proposing the foundations of a new global society, that should change ‘values, institutions, and ways of living’, in other words a new universal ecological religion in which ‘the forces of nature make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential to life’s evolution.’

I – Suspicion of the Church regarding ‘integral ecology’; a new doctrine involving an ideology which in many points opposes the teachings of the Church

a) Legitimate concerns of the Church for the environment
b) Grave misgivings of the Magisterium in relation to an ‘ecological mentality’ contrary to the teachings of the Church
c) Humans are put at the apex of material and visible creation: they are image and likeness of God, with a body and immortal soul, and with a final end that is not in this world

II – The ecological problems of the planet are due to the neglect of the practice of the Commandments – immutable moral principles – by the greater part of humanity. The crisis of our world is a moral crisis, therefore, only a moral conversion will resolve ecological problems

a) The Christian should see the world as a setting where life evolves in accordance with moral principles, with his sights placed on eternity
b) The root of the environmental crisis is moral
c) The solution for the world crisis is found in a society based on the religious principles of Christian morals

III – An ecology of a spiritual and irenic character opens the doors toward a distortion of the Catholic religion, that must not – under the pretext of saving humanity and dialoguing with everybody, Catholics and non Catholics – adapt to ways of thinking which constitute doctrines truly contrary to unchanging teachings

a) Dialogue and drawing closer, without transgressing the truth and the faith
b) Authentic respect for nature and human beings will only exist within an authentically Catholic society
c) The Christian vision of the Triune God cannot be reconciled with the spiritualist mask of an ecology that appears to be open toward interreligious dialogue, but is interwoven with religious syncretism and pantheism

The ‘Earth Charter’: a document with notoriously pantheistic overtones


I – Suspicion of the Church regarding ‘integral ecology’; a new doctrine involving an ideology which in many points opposes the teachings of the Church


Laudato si’A contradiction:
Care for biodiversity to safeguard other forms of life; above all human beings need to change, for they lack awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone – but ‘biocentrism’ entails adding yet another imbalance, failing to solve present problems and adding new ones

76 - A laudato-si400In the protection of biodiversity, specialists insist on the need for particular attention to be shown to areas richer both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species. Certain places need greater protection because of their immense importance for the global ecosystem, or because they represent important water reserves and thus safeguard other forms of life (LS 37)

 76 - A laudato-si400Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone. This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life. A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal (LS 202)

76 - A laudato-si400A misguided anthropocentrism need not necessarily yield to ‘biocentrism’, for that would entail adding yet another imbalance, failing to solve present problems and adding new ones. Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world unless, at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued (LS 118)


a) Legitimate concerns of the Church for the environment


John XXIII

God said ‘Fill the earth, and subdue it.’ Nothing is said about destroying nature. On the contrary, it must be brought into the service of human life

John Paul II

Christian culture has always recognized the creatures that surround man as gifts of God: unbridled exploitation is due to secularization

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Science and technology are not of themselves the cause of the exasperated secularization that leads to nihilism; the problem is the evolutionist rejection Creation and the rupture of man with the Creator

Benedict XVI

Respecting the environment means respecting the hierarchy within creation and not considering nature selfishly

Laudato si’ – Another contradiction:
A universal communion: all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred respect – but this is not to put all living beings on the same level nor does it imply a divinization of the earth

 76 - A laudato-si400This is the basis of our conviction that, as part of the universe, called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect. Here I would reiterate that ‘God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 215) (LS 89)

76 - A laudato-si400This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility. Such notions would end up creating new imbalances which would deflect us from the reality which challenges us. At times we see an obsession with denying any pre-eminence to the human person; more zeal is shown in protecting other species than in defending the dignity which all human beings share in equal measure. (LS 90)


b) Grave misgivings of the Magisterium in relation to an ‘ecological mentality’ – contrary to the teachings of the Church


Pius XII

A society that eliminates the idea of a Creator and His creatures loses the harmony of relations between man and the world and with his fellow men, based on Christian religious principles

John XXIII

The risk of looking for solutions against the divinely established moral order, for example, to try to address the food-supply problem by violating the laws of human procreation

John Paul II

Exaggerated ecological positions demand to limit the birth rate, or inspired by egocentrism and biocentrism propose an egalitarian ‘dignity’ of all living beings

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

One must not absolutize nature and place it above the dignity of the human person himself, divinizing nature or the earth

Benedict XVI

The idea of evolutionary determinism leads to considering nature an untouchable taboo or to abusing it. To view nature as something more important than the human person leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism — human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense
So-called integral ecology: egalitarian vision of the ‘dignity’ of living creatures that abolishes the superior role of human beings, opening the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism. Man must not abuse nature, but also may not abdicate his role of steward and administrator with responsibility over creation

c) Humans are put at the apex of material and visible creation: they are image and likeness of God, with a body and immortal soul, and with a final end that is not in this world


Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Man, created in God’s image, received a mandate to subject to himself the earth and all that it contains, such that man himself and the totality of things be turned to the Lord and Creator of all

John XXIII

A conception of ecology that appreciates the marvelous order placed by God in the world makes man realize his own greatness, as lord of creation, such that he can devise the means for harnessing natural forces for his own benefit as a gift received from God

Benedict XVI

Authentic human development must include not just material but also spiritual growth, as the saints accomplished, since the human person is a ‘unity of body and soul’, born of God’s creative love and destined for eternal life

Sacred Scripture

Humans are worth ‘more than many sparrows’; and so must not fear the death of the body but of the soul

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the ‘six days’, from the less perfect to the more perfect; in creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence
In God’s plan humans have the vocation of ‘subduing’ the earth as ‘stewards of God’

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

In interior life, man discovers that he is superior to the material world, having ‘a spiritual and immortal soul’ and is not merely a pantheistic speck of nature or a nameless constituent of the city of man
God himself willed that man be the king of creation. The biblical message and the Church’s Magisterium represent the essential reference points for evaluating the problems found in the relationship between man and the environment

II – The ecological problems of the planet are due to the neglect of the practice of the Commandments – immutable moral principles – by the greater part of humanity.The crisis of our world is a moral crisis, therefore, only a moral conversion will resolve ecological problems


Laudato si’ – What is needed is an ‘ecological conversion’

76 - A laudato-si400‘The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast’. 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 (LS 217).


a) The Christian should see the world as a milieu where life proceeds in accordance with moral principles, with his sights placed on eternity


Pius XII

The moral life does not belong only to the interior sphere, but also has an effect on the harmony of the world: even the most individual acts have a repercussion in the surrounding world

John XXIII

Only the moral order has the solution of problems relating to man’s life as an individual and as a member of society, both those concerning individual states and their inter-relations
The disunity among individuals and among nations, which contrasts to the perfect order in the universe, is the consequence of a moral crisis, of the abandonment of the immutable laws inscribed by God in man’s nature
Human society must be considered as being primarily a spiritual reality – and not a naturalistic one, whose spiritual values should exert a guiding influence on the relations between humans in all spheres
Men must conduct themselves in conformity with the precepts of the moral order, obeying the providential designs of God regarding salvation, integrating the principal spiritual values with those of science, technology and the professions

b) The root of the environmental crisis is moral


John XXIII

The frequent divorce between faith and practice in Christians – the root of the present crisis

John Paul II

A moral question: the environmental problem results from unheeding the Creator’s will that man should communicate with nature as an intelligent and noble ‘master’ and ‘guardian’
The true nature of the evil which faces us with respect to the development of peoples: it is a question of a moral evil, the fruit of many sins which lead to ‘structures of sin’
Fragments of the Centessimus annus omitted in the Laudato Si’: the root of the ecological problem is the loss of the sense of God the Creator, whereby man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth

Benedict XVI

Human beings interpret and shape the natural environment through culture, which in turn is given direction by the responsible use of freedom, in accordance with the dictates of the moral law
Fragments of Caritas in Veritate omitted in the citations of Laudato Si’: The ecological system is based not only on a good relationship with nature, but also on respect for a plan that affects the health of society - the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society

*   *   *


Laudato si’
An integral ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good, which calls for social peace, the stability and security provided by a certain order. The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures; all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God.

 76 - A laudato-si400An integral ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good, a central and unifying principle of social ethics. The common good is ‘the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment’ (GS, 26). (LS 156)

76 - A laudato-si400Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person as such, endowed with basic and inalienable rights ordered to his or her integral development. It has also to do with the overall welfare of society and the development of a variety of intermediate groups, applying the principle of subsidiarity. Outstanding among those groups is the family, as the basic cell of society. Finally, the common good calls for social peace, the stability and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice; whenever this is violated, violence always ensues. Society as a whole, and the state in particular, are obliged to defend and promote the common good. (LS 157)

 76 - A laudato-si400The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things (note 53: Against this horizon we can set the contribution of Fr Teilhard de Chardin). Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator. (LS 83)


c) The solution for the world crisis is found in a society based on the religious principles of Christian morals


John Paul II

More parts of the Centesimus annus ‘forgotten’ in the citations of Laudato Si’ More than preserving the natural habitats of threatened species, greater effort must be made to safeguard the moral conditions of mankind
Even more elements of Centesimus annus ‘forgotten’ in the citations of Laudato Si’: An ‘integral ecology’ presents an idea of the family that contrasts with the Catholic ideal, which is founded on marriage, cradle of the moral formation of man
The ecological question finds in the Bible clear and strong ethical direction, leading to a solution that respects the great good of life

Benedict XVI

If the relationship between human creatures and the Creator is forgotten, matter is reduced to a selfish possession; man becomes the ‘last word’
There is a need to safeguard the human patrimony of society that originates in and is part of the natural moral law, which is the foundation of respect for the human person and creation
Prerequisite for saving the ecology: saving our spiritual ozone layer and especially saving our spiritual rainforests - a real conversion, as faith understands it, toward the will of God

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Use of the natural resources cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives . Some parts of the Catechism not cited in Laudato Si’

CELAM – Document of Aparecida

The best way to respect nature is to promote a human ecology open to transcendence to recapitulate all things in Christ and praise the Father with Him

John Paul II

True conversion fosters a new life, in which there is no separation between faith and works in our daily response to the universal call to holiness

III – An ecology of a spiritual and irenic character opens the doors toward a distortion of the Catholic religion, that must not – under the pretext of saving humanity and dialoguing with everybody, Catholics and non Catholics – adapt to ways of thinking which constitute doctrines truly contrary to immutable teachings


Laudato si’
Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way. returning to the sources of their ethical and spiritual treasures, religions will be better equipped to respond to today’s needs; spur religions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature; An open and respectful dialogue is also needed between the various ecological movements. Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning.

76 - A laudato-si400All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. Science and technology are not neutral; from the beginning to the end of a process, various intentions and possibilities are in play and can take on distinct shapes. Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur. (LS 114)

76 - A laudato-si400We need to develop a new synthesis capable of overcoming the false arguments of recent centuries. Christianity, in fidelity to its own identity and the rich deposit of truth which it has received from Jesus Christ, continues to reflect on these issues in fruitful dialogue with changing historical situations. In doing so, it reveals its eternal newness. (LS 121)

76 - A laudato-si400Any technical solution which science claims to offer will be powerless to solve the serious problems of our world if humanity loses its compass, if we lose sight of the great motivations which make it possible for us to live in harmony, to make sacrifices and to treat others well. Believers themselves must constantly feel challenged to live in a way consonant with their faith and not to contradict it by their actions. They need to be encouraged to be ever open to God’s grace and to draw constantly from their deepest convictions about love, justice and peace. If a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, we believers should acknowledge that by so doing we were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve. Cultural limitations in different eras often affected the perception of these ethical and spiritual treasures, yet by constantly returning to their sources, religions will be better equipped to respond to today’s needs. (LS 200)

76 - A laudato-si400The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers. This should spur religions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity. Dialogue among the various sciences is likewise needed, since each can tend to become enclosed in its own language, while specialization leads to a certain isolation and the absolutization of its own field of knowledge. This prevents us from confronting environmental problems effectively. An open and respectful dialogue is also needed between the various ecological movements, among which ideological conflicts are not infrequently encountered. The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which demands patience, self-discipline and generosity, always keeping in mind that ‘realities are greater than ideas’ (Evangelii Gaudium). (LS 201)

76 - A laudato-si400Environmental education has broadened its goals. Whereas in the beginning it was mainly centered on scientific information, consciousness-raising and the prevention of environmental risks, it tends now to include a critique of the ‘myths’ of a modernity grounded in a utilitarian mindset (individualism, unlimited progress, competition, consumerism, the unregulated market). It seeks also to restore the various levels of ecological equilibrium, establishing harmony within ourselves, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God. Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning. (LS 210)


I propose that we offer prayers that we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator

76 - A laudato-si400At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.

A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. (LS 246)


a) Dialogue and drawing closer, without transgressing the truth and the faith


Catechism of Saint Pius X

We should beg graces of God in the Name of Jesus Christ because He is our Mediator, and it is through Him alone that we can approach the throne of God

John Paul II

True ecumenical activity in no way means giving up or diminishing the treasures of divine truth, constantly confessed and taught by the Church

Paul VI

The desire to come together as brothers must not lead to a watering down or whittling away of truth: our dialogue must not weaken our attachment to our faith

Pius IX

A very grave error: to believe that men living in error, and separated from the true faith and from Catholic unity, can attain eternal life
Errors condemned by the Syllabus

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father: ‘ask in his name’

John XXIII

In relations with non-Catholics, Catholics bear themselves as Catholics, and must do nothing to compromise religion and morality

*   *   *


Laudato si’
The disappearance of a culture can be just as serious, or even more serious, than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal. It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions: For them, land is a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. They themselves care for it best.

76 - A laudato-si400Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation not only exhaust the resources which provide local communities with their livelihood, but also undo the social structures which, for a long time, shaped cultural identity and their sense of the meaning of life and community. The disappearance of a culture can be just as serious, or even more serious, than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal. The imposition of a dominant lifestyle linked to a single form of production can be just as harmful as the altering of ecosystems. (LS 145)

76 - A laudato-si400In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture. (LS 146)


b) Authentic respect for nature and human beings will only exist within an authentically Catholic society


John XXIII

Our concern is with the doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, whose light illumines, enkindles and enflames. Every age hears her warning voice, vibrant with heavenly wisdom, with effective remedies for the increasing needs of men, and the sorrows and anxieties of this present life

Benedict XVI

Goodwill alone is not enough…Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. The strength to fight and suffer for the common good comes from the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’
It becomes more and more evident that there is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men. Both of these presuppose peace with God
Without a transcendent foundation founded on moral values – which are Christian values - society is a mere aggregation of neighbors, not a community of brothers and sisters called to form one great family

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

The union of the human family is possible only founded on Christ, uniting all as of the family of God’s children - the innermost nature of the Church

*   *   *


Laudato si’
Outside the Catholic Church, other religions have offered valuable reflections on these issues. To accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbors on a global scale. I suggest that we now consider some elements of an ‘integral ecology’. What is the purpose of our life in this world? Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan; creating an ‘ecological citizenship’

76 - A laudato-si400Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing. To give just one striking example, I would mention the statements made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom we share the hope of full ecclesial communion. (LS 7)

76 - A laudato-si400As Christians, we are also called ‘to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbors on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet’ (Patriarch Bartholomew ‘Global Responsibility and Ecological Sustainability’, Closing Remarks, Halki Summit I, Istanbul, 20 June 2012). (LS 9)

76 - A laudato-si400In this universe, shaped by open and intercommunicating systems, we can discern countless forms of relationship and participation. This leads us to think of the whole as open to God’s transcendence, within which it develops. Faith allows us to interpret the meaning and the mysterious beauty of what is unfolding. (LS 79)

76 - A laudato-si400Since everything is closely interrelated, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis, I suggest that we now consider some elements of an integral ecology, one which clearly respects its human and social dimensions. (LS 137)

76 - A laudato-si400When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results. But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affect us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn. (LS 160)

76 - A laudato-si400Beginning in the middle of the last century and overcoming many difficulties, there has been a growing conviction that our planet is a homeland and that humanity is one people living in a common home. An interdependent world not only makes us more conscious of the negative effects of certain lifestyles and models of production and consumption which affect us all; more importantly, it motivates us to ensure that solutions are proposed from a global perspective, and not simply to defend the interests of a few countries. Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan. (LS 164)

76 - A laudato-si400Yet this education, aimed at creating an ‘ecological citizenship’, is at times limited to providing information, and fails to instill good habits. The existence of laws and regulations is insufficient in the long run to curb bad conduct, even when effective means of enforcement are present. If the laws are to bring about significant, long-lasting effects, the majority of the members of society must be adequately motivated to accept them, and personally transformed to respond. (LS 211)


c) The Christian vision of the Triune God cannot be reconciled with the spiritualist mask of an ecology that appears to be open toward interreligious dialogue, but is interwoven with religious syncretism and pantheism


Pius XII

Christian action cannot renounce its title and character to collaborate with a ‘human’ action that signifies agnosticism toward Religion and the true values of life, which would be equal to a request of abdication, to which a Christian cannot consent

Vatican Council I (Ecumenical XX)

God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth

Saint Bonaventure

The things of this sensible world lead one to transcend and pass-over to Christ, and the hidden Sacrament of God

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth, from which he draws inspiration and norms to make plans for the future of the world

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Solutions that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ are contrary to Christian and Catholic faith

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The true spirituality for all Christians in any state or walk of life: called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity. All are called to holiness, in mystical union with Christ

Pius XII

The perfection and the order of the world of some sort of immanent process, which is a return to the old superstition that deified nature; but is a vital happening of the same history as the divine Word - the form of this world passes and its final destiny to the glory of the Father and the triumph of the Word

John XXIII

There will be no peace nor justice in the world until men return to a sense of their dignity as creatures and sons of God; separated from God a man is but a monster, in himself and toward others
Scientific and technical progress: goods of this kind must be valued according to their true nature, as instruments used by man for the better attainment of his end in the natural and the supernatural order

Pontifical Council for Culture and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

The growing conviction that there exists an essence of truth in the heart of every religious experience has led to the idea that they must gather elements from different religions in order to reach a universal form of religion

Laudato si’
The ‘Earth Charter’ asked us to leave behind a period of self-destruction and make a new start, but we have not as yet developed a universal awareness needed to achieve this. Here, I would echo that courageous challenge

76 - A laudato-si400The Earth Charter asked us to leave behind a period of self-destruction and make a new start, but we have not as yet developed a universal awareness needed to achieve this. Here, I would echo that courageous challenge: ‘As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning… Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life’ (Earth Charter, The Hague, 29 June 2000). (LS 207)


The ‘Earth Charter’: a document with notoriously pantheistic overtones, proposing the foundations of a new global society, that should change ‘values, institutions, and ways of living’, in other words a new universal ecological religion in which ‘the forces of nature make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential to life’s evolution.’

To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

Humanity is part of a vast evolving universe. Earth, our home, is alive with a unique community of life. The forces of nature make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential to life’s evolution. There salience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air. The global environment with its finite resources is a common concern of all peoples. The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust. […] The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. […] To realize these aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature. (Text of ‘The Earth Charter’, Preamble, The Hague, June 29, 2000)

 

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