Laudato Si’ is an encyclical of Pope Francis published in May 2015. It focuses on care for the natural environment and all people, as well as broader questions of the relationship between God, humans, and the Earth. The encyclical’s subtitle, “Care for Our Common Home,” reinforces these key themes.
Laudato Si’ is divided into six chapters.
“Chapter One: What is Happening to Our Common Home” summarizes the scope of current problems related to the environment. Issues discussed include pollution, climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and global inequality.
“Chapter Two: The Gospel of Creation” draws on the Bible as a source of insight. The Genesis creation stories are interpreted as enjoining responsible cultivation and protection of nature. Past attempts to justify the absolute human domination of other species are “not a correct interpretation of the Bible” (LS 67). The natural world is further portrayed as a gift, a message, and a common inheritance of all people.
“Chapter Three: The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis” explores social trends and ideologies that have caused environmental problems. These include the unreflective use of technology, an impulse to manipulate and control nature, a view of humans as separate from the environment, narrowly-focused economic theories, and moral relativism.
“Chapter Four: Integral Ecology” presents the encyclical’s main solution to ongoing social and environmental problems. Integral ecology affirms that humans are part of a broader world and calls for “comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems” (LS 139). While the study of ecosystems has become well-known in the science of ecology, integral ecology expands this paradigm to consider the ethical and spiritual dimensions of how humans are meant to relate to each other and the natural world – drawing on culture, family, community, virtue, religion, and respect for the common good.
“Chapter Five: Lines of Approach and Action” applies the concept of integral ecology to political life. It calls for international agreements to protect the environment and assist low-income countries, new national and local policies, inclusive and transparent decision-making, and an economy ordered to the good of all.
“Chapter Six: Ecological Education and Spirituality” concludes the encyclical with applications to personal life. It recommends a lifestyle focused less on consumerism and more on timeless, enduring values. It calls for environmental education, joy in one’s surroundings, civic love, reception of the sacraments, and an “ecological conversion” in which an encounter with Jesus leads to deeper communion with God, other people, and the world of nature.
Best Laudato Si’ summary by Christopher Rice | May 5, 2022 | Blog, Laudato Si' Week, News and Updates, Pope Francis
To read the encyclical click here - https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
This year, with the theme of “Listening and Journeying Together” Catholics on six continents will work on “bringing the human family together to protect our common home” (LS 13), which is the guiding Laudato Si’ quote for the weeklong celebration.
For information and ideas on how to get involved with Laudato Si see below.