Chapter One WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR COMMON HOME [17 – 61]

I have begun to publish sections and segments of the Popes letter on OUR network of blogs as well as on Linkedin & Quora 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.

17. Theological and philosophical reflections
on the situation of humanity and the world can
sound tiresome and abstract, unless they are
grounded in a fresh analysis of our present situation,
which is in many ways unprecedented in the
history of humanity. So, before considering how
faith brings new incentives and requirements
with regard to the world of which we are a part,
I will briefly turn to what is happening to our
common home.

18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting
humanity and the planet is coupled today
with a more intensified pace of life and work
which might be called “rapidification”. Although
change is part of the working of complex systems,
the speed with which human activity has
developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace
of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of
this rapid and constant change are not necessarily
geared to the common good or to integral
and sustainable human development. Change is
something desirable, yet it becomes a source of
anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to
the quality of life of much of humanity.

19. Following a period of irrational confidence
in progress and human abilities, some sectors
of society are now adopting a more critical approach.
We see increasing sensitivity to the environment
and the need to protect nature, along
with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing,
for what is happening to our planet.
Let us review, however cursorily, those questions
which are troubling us today and which we can
no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is
not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity,
but rather to become painfully aware, to dare
to turn what is happening to the world into our
own personal suffering and thus to discover what
each of us can do about it.

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