‘Laudato Si’ – One Year On

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18th June marks the first anniversary of  the papal encyclical ‘Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home’. More than a document about just the environment, the encyclical links our duty to the poor and vulnerable, our responsibility as stewards of the earth and concerns about blind technological and economic progress which ignores the common good to only serve short term interests. It also challenges people of good will to experience an interior “ecological conversion”.  We are called to take the difficult steps required to end the “throwaway culture” following “one of the most irresponsible [periods] in history” while caring for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.

 
The past year has been a very important one for a large number of reasons. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement mirror the Pope’s thinking in calling for development issues and care of the environment to be addressed in a holistic manner. Public consensus and pressure is growing on governments and Pope Francis is urging Catholics to become more political . Whilst excitement and optimism follows from the commitments made to the COP21 international agreement, the challenge remains in its implementation.

 
The Encyclical also offers ways to engage in greater “global solidarity” and also provides a platform for interfaith dialogue. “It will take years to take full measure of Laudato Si”  according to the editors of America Magazine, but even in the year since its publication the relevance of the Church’s voice in engaging with the rest of the world to advance humanity has been greatly enhanced.

– Nicholas Webster
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