“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Many climate change deniers and politicians couldn’t wait for the encyclical release before questioning the Pope’s authority to question corporate greed. Headlines proclaimed: “Pope takes on climate change.” I was half expecting to see “Is the Pope Catholic?”
I look forward to reading the full encyclical and writing a future blog on the Pope’s insights and call to action. But I already know as a practicing Catholic that climate change is an issue of social justice.
The Institute of Cultural Affairs-USA is already planning a Fall forum on “Faith & Sustainability.” Our mission of “building a just and equitable society in harmony with Planet Earth” is the primary reason I accepted the position as CEO. Spreading our current sustainability initiatives to Chicago congregations and other cities is a priority for us in the coming months and years.
Rev. John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, observed in a Chicago Tribune op-ed piece in the days leading up to the Pope’s message observed:
“The pope’s objective will not be to win an election—he will never stand for any kind of election again in his life. He will be trying to deepen our common reflection and spur action on one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. His goal will be to appeal to consciences.”
It is time for many conversations focused on addressing climate change. Pope Francis’ opening sentence reminds us:
“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us”
The title of the encyclical is from St. Francis of Assisi’s “The Canticle of the Sun”; this week’s addition to the U2Cando playlist:
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
And all creation is shouting for joy.
Come dance in the forest, come play in the field
And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.
Canticle of the Sun
Text by St. Francis of Assisi;
adapted & music by Marty Haugen