We Are Church Intl.

Five years since Laudato Si

We Are Church in Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland and Spain endorse this statement by Noi Siamo Chiesa.

It is five years since the publication of the most important text of Pope Francis, Laudato SI, an encyclical indicating the road to the Church and to society for believers and non-believers.

[ Italian - original text ]

Reflections and initiatives on the protection of creation and its connection with peace and with justice have travelled the Christian world, from the World Council of Churches to Cartha Oecumenica of 2001. However, awareness of this issue has never become, over time, a common patrimony of feeling community in the Church so that it was taught in the seminaries, in the preparation for the sacraments, in the reflection on the Word of God. It should also be noted that nothing specific was written in the Council’s documents and also in the Catechism of 1992.

 Therefore Laudato SI, which collected the best analysis and proposals about the environment in the world, starting from that of Christian inspiration by Leonardo Boff and others, presented itself as a substantial new message to the generality of the Catholic world. Never had this been the case in official texts endowed with the authority of the papal magisterium. The axes of the encyclical are proposed to all, believers and non-believers, and enrich the reflection on where humanity goes with points of view endowed with great authority for their adherence to situations and for their proposals. The integral ecology, the common good of humanity, the conception of a "limit" to development, the circular economy, the offences against biodiversity, lifestyles, the situation of the "poor", the perverse link with waste and with the race to rearm, the costs of the devastation of the environment poured out on the weakest peoples and individuals: these are the main points of the message. I wish also remember a point little noted in the long encyclical, the second chapter on "The Gospel of Creation" where there are very inspiring words on what the Bible says. Such a point also opens up to the believer's moral responsibilities. Sin "against the environment" must add to and perhaps dominate the traditional "sins" of catechetical teaching.

In the years following the encyclical, there were many events that had a direct or indirect connection with it. In Paris, a weak international pact was signed to intervene on the climate, the Synod on the Amazon was almost "born" from the Laudato SI, in Abu Dhabi it was signed in February last year by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmad Al- Tayyeb a text on "Human brotherhood for world peace and common coexistence" that indicates the common commitment of Christians and Muslims, but sent for all, to solve the problems of the world. Above all, the sensitivity towards offences against creation has spread, young people have become new protagonists for an urgent change. Finally, the lockdown is considered by most scientists to be a consequence, also and above all, of the devastation of nature and of uncontrolled globalization. The international authorities which are part of the United Nations engaged to intervene on the environment, on health and on all the phenomena of degradation and marginalization in the world are completely insufficient due to a lack of authority and resources.

The encyclical, with subsequent and ongoing events, presents itself today as the most important document of the pontificate, both for the Catholic and Christian world, both for all men of good will. In the Vatican Pope Francis wanted to give legs to the words of the encyclical and established the dicastery "For integral human development", led by the Ghanaian Card. Peter Turkson and the Canadian Card. Michael Czerny. They organized a "A week to remember the signature of Laudato SI" and a subsequent year of mobilization of the Catholic world on the issues of the encyclical which, as far as I know , are spreading with a strong participation of young people but perhaps uncoordinated among them. This dicastery is the one that is most related to the direct initiative of Pope Francis.

Laudato SI is no stranger to issues typically ecclesiastical, raises his gaze on the world, proposes an alliance with all religions, it finds the link between climate crisis and social degradation, calls into question the structure of the existing rapport on the powers in the states and in societies but also wants to "show from the beginning how beliefs of faith offer Christians, and in part also to other believers, high motivations for taking care of nature and the most fragile brothers and sisters " (chap. 64).

Rome, 25 May 2020

Vittorio Bellavite
Spokesperson of Noi Siamo Chiesa