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Laudato si

Too often, Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato si’” is bluntly referred to as “the environmental encyclical” or “the climate change encyclical.” While these are accurate descriptors of important topics the letter addresses, to reduce the identity of “Laudato si’” to just these labels is to miss the breadth and depth of truth the encyclical calls to light — that the entirety of the natural world is worthy of praise because the natural world and the created world are one and the same, and the created world is the handiwork of God. Therefore, ecological concern on the part of theists must not only arise as a consequence to the troubling, current state of planet Earth. Rather, care for our common home should exist as a foundational and inherent part of what it means to be Christian. This care does not stem from a cultural obsession with being “green” or even from a dire need to address changing climates (though both are important factors at this particular point in history). The responsibility to be ecologically conscious, the call to see to the mutual flourishing of all creation, the privilege of experiencing God’s glory through the natural world, and the honor of praising the Creator in this primary way stem from the human’s God-given ability to behold all that God has made and to exuberantly exclaim that it is good. Praised be!

Article written by Stephanie Clary, mission outreach and communication coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington.

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