Much has been written and broadcast by the media concerning Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on ecology (Laudato Si – Blessed are You). Since there are likely to be many spins on the document by various individuals and groups, I think it is important to present some points to help Catholics and others keep the encyclical in perspective.
Pope Francis is speaking as a pastor addressing a moral issue, restating a long held Catholic teaching on care for God’s creation and how it affects the health and very lives of people, particularly the poor and vulnerable. The encyclical is a pastoral document not a political statement.
Issues concerning ecology are both immediate and long term. The quality of life of millions of people is already being diminished as the result of the present state of the world’s ecology. Future generations will suffer even more if the situation is not addressed promptly.
“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will,” the Holy Father told a General Audience in May, “or, even less, is it the property of only a few. Creation is a gift. It is a wonderful gift that God has given us so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”
It is the obligation of the Church to speak prophetically to the halls of power when it perceives an imminent threat to ecology and its impact on countless numbers of people. That is the purpose of the upcoming encyclical of Pope Francis.
“Whoever has ears, ought to hear.” (Matt. 11:15)
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