Pope Francis’ encyclical and environmental work, Laudato si’, is now almost eight years old. A letter to the public, which can certainly be understood as an accompanying letter of the environmental policy implemented so far and in the future.
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Laudato si quasi as a handbook for environmental issues
The encyclical “Laudato si'” published by Pope Francis in 2015 reads like an “operating manual” for future politics and business. A call to change society in the name of nature and the environment. In 2015, the “Calls” of the Pontifex Maximus were still about the future, but that has now caught up with humanity. In view of the developments, the “leaders” of politics and business have taken the “Pope’s Manual” to heart.
Back in June 2015, James Martin SJ (Jesuit) in The Huffington Post “Laudato si'” highlighted the environmental issues in the Pope’s encyclical and broke down the “10 Most Important Messages” from the Pope contained therein. A sort of “10 Green Commandments” of modern times.
The essence of Laudato si’ – “10 Pope’s Commandments”
1. The spiritual perspective is now part of the discussion on the environment
2. The poor are disproportionately affected by climate change
3. Less is more
4. Catholic social teaching now includes teaching on the environment
5. Discussions about ecology can be grounded in the Bible and church tradition
6. Everything is connected — including the economy
7. Scientific research on the environment is to be praised and used
8. Widespread indifference and selfishness worsen environmental problems
9. Global dialogue and solidarity are needed
10. A change of heart is required
Jesuit Martin specifies the “commandments”
With Laudato si’, Pope Francis brought the environmental crisis into the perspective of the religious perspective. With this encyclical, the language of faith comes into the conversation.
In particular, the explanation for point 3 should be familiar to many attentive contemporaries. On the point “less is more”, Martin emphasizes the Pope’s criticism of the “technocratic way of thinking”. Every time a new technology is introduced, we don’t even think about how it will affect our world. In contrast, “Christian spirituality” offers a growth that is characterized by “moderation and the ability to be happy with little”.
Indirectly, Martin exalted Catholic social teaching by giving it to Pope Leo XIII in 1891. (Encyclical Rerum Novarum) as a sign of authority, as Pope Francis added the now-focused environmental issues “to the body of the Church’s social teaching.” This sometimes justified the determination of point 4 as the relevant “commandment”.
Martin substantiates the somewhat abstract-looking “change of heart” according to point 10 using the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” described in Laudato si’. The Pope therefore calls for a conversion, namely an “ecological conversion”.
Laudato si has practically already been made into a film
At the beginning of 2023, this encyclical, including the more concrete descriptions, is now almost 8 years old. What has certainly been observed in the past in the areas of politics and activism, in part shows clear parallels with the statements (“requests”) of the encyclical Laudato si’. The “10 Commandments” of this “environmental work” can be found in the extensively produced film “Letter from the Pope”. A visually stunning strip in cinema format.
History repeats itself. Already in ancient, pagan Rome there were religious communities that took the worship of nature a “little” too far.
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Bible verses from King James Version