In 2015, Pope Francis released the encyclical letter, Laudato Si, as an appeal to all in order to encourage protection of the environment and all of creation. Laudato Si is translated to mean "Praise be to you". This means that Pope Francis is praising God for all of his creation. Through this letter, the Pope is taking a leading role to defend all of creation by speaking out about the destruction and harm that is progressively damaging the earth and all living things. In order to express these problems, Pope Francis focuses on the importance of relationships we have with the environment and also on the relationships we have with the others around us. As we pollute and damage the environment, the poor are becoming directly affected because they have no means of finding clean water or moving elsewhere. It is our job as brothers and sisters in this world to come together in order to support one another. Pope Francis states, "In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters" (Pope Francis, 97). Pope Francis is calling to all people, not only Catholics, in an effort to come together through solidarity in order to act now so that changes can be made to decrease the detrimental effects our actions are having on the environment. Pope Francis is expressing that every single person must be involved in coming together in order to create any sort of change for the good of our future.
Pope Francis discusses the limitations of our current world in that we are consumed with progress and technological advancements. Pope Francis addresses this aspect negatively as he believes it “cannot be equated with the progress of humanity and history and the way to a better future lies elsewhere” (Pope Francis, 71). Pope Francis is alluding to the difficulty to pause and reflect upon meaning and depth in life because of the constant flood of new monotonous technology. Pope Francis encourages us to move forward in a cultural revolution, away from the constant need for material items and new technological advancements in order to slow down and recover the values and important issues overshadowed by advancements. We are starting to lose touch with physical and personal connections with others. Everything is now based on your updated status you have on a social media platform instead of real expressed feelings. It is clear that we will not be able to attain a happy future if we are only consumed with material items. This obsession with technological advancement is only creating problems within our environment, contributing to water pollution, climate change from greenhouse gases, and the loss of biodiversity due to the destruction of forests. Pope Francis makes it clear that we must stray away from the constant need for material items and start to become more aware of the world around us in order to make a substantial difference.
Pope Francis expresses the importance of caring for the most vulnerable members of our world, the poor. The poor rely and are largely dependent on natural resources such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. Pope Francis informs us that these limited resources are affected by climate change, due to increased warming, brought about by greenhouse gases, and pollution by the majority of the world. The changing climate causes animals and plants to have difficulty adapting. This then causes them to migrate, ultimately affecting the livelihood of the poor. The poor have limited resources due to the destructive habits of people in higher socioeconomic statuses. The people causing environmental problems are able to use different resources or change locations if need be but the poor have no other financial means which can enable them to adapt to climate change, or face natural disasters. Pope Francis states, "Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.” (Pope Francis, 25). The poor are suffering due to the irresponsible habits that the world has grown too comfortable with, it is our job to take responsibility for these actions and help the vulnerable.
Pope Francis. 2015. Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home [Encyclical].
El Salvador. (n.d). Retrieved from https://cja.org/where-we-work/el-salvador/
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis To Participants At the International Conference Marking the 3rd Anniversary of the Encyclical. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2018/july/documents/papa-francesco_20180706_terzoanniversario-laudatosi.html
CRISPAZ- Christians for Peace in El Salvador. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.crispaz.org/info pages/about us.html
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