My appeal [13-16]

I have begun to publish sections and segments of the Popes letter on OUR network of blogs as well as on Linkedin & Quora & Newsvine and will add my comments over time. Papa Francisco's 180 page letter is much less about religion than it is about nature and the planet earth. He proposes some fairly radical yet simple and understandable solutions for humankind. It is way past time to start paying attention to what we are all doing or allowing others to do.

13. The urgent challenge to protect our common
home includes a concern to bring the whole
human family together to seek a sustainable and
integral development, for we know that things
can change. The Creator does not abandon us;
he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of
having created us. Humanity still has the ability
to work together in building our common home.
Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all
those striving in countless ways to guarantee the
protection of the home which we share. Particular
appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly
seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental
degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest.
Young people demand change. They wonder
how anyone can claim to be building a better future
without thinking of the environmental crisis
and the sufferings of the excluded.

14. 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. The worldwide ecological movement
has already made considerable progress
and led to the establishment of numerous organizations
committed to raising awareness of
these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to
seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis
have proved ineffective, not only because of
powerful opposition but also because of a more
general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes,
even on the part of believers, can range from denial
of the problem to indifference, nonchalant
resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions.
We require a new and universal solidarity.
As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated:
“Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed
to redress the damage caused by human abuse of
God’s creation”. 22 All of us can cooperate as instruments
of God for the care of creation, each
according to his or her own culture, experience,
involvements and talents.

15. It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter,
which is now added to the body of the Church’s
social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the
appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge
we face. I will begin by briefly reviewing several
aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the
aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific
research available today, letting them touch us
deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the
ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows. I will
then consider some principles drawn from the
Judaeo-Christian tradition which can render our
commitment to the environment more coherent.
I will then attempt to get to the roots of the present

22 Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference,
Pastoral Statement on the Environmental Crisis (5 September 1999).

situation, so as to consider not only its symptoms
but also its deepest causes. This will help to
provide an approach to ecology which respects
our unique place as human beings in this world
and our relationship to our surroundings. In light
of this reflection, I will advance some broader
proposals for dialogue and action which would
involve each of us as individuals, and also affect
international policy. Finally, convinced as I am
that change is impossible without motivation and
a process of education, I will offer some inspired
guidelines for human development to be found
in the treasure of Christian spiritual experience.

16. Although each chapter will have its own
subject and specific approach, it will also take up
and re-examine important questions previously
dealt with. This is particularly the case with
a number of themes which will reappear as the
Encyclical unfolds. As examples, I will point to
the intimate relationship between the poor and
the fragility of the planet, the conviction that
everything in the world is connected, the critique
of new paradigms and forms of power derived
from technology, the call to seek other ways of
understanding the economy and progress, the
value proper to each creature, the human meaning
of ecology, the need for forthright and honest
debate, the serious responsibility of international
and local policy, the throwaway culture and the
proposal of a new lifestyle. These questions will
not be dealt with once and for all, but reframed
and enriched again and again.


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