our picks from Pope Francis' Encyclical, Laudato Si', On Care For Our Common Home

[Paragraph numbers are identified in brackets]


3/8/16 - 7 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 3 - "The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis"

The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration.  [109]

...humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm.  [106]

This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject who, using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object.  [106]

Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational.  [106]

This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology.  [106]

It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit.  [106]

We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth.  [109]

2/22/16 - 7 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 3 - "The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis"

...nuclear energy, biotechnology, information technology, knowledge of our DNA, and many other abilities which we have acquired, have given us tremendous power.  [104]
More precisely, they have given those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity...  [104]
There is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means "an increase of 'progress' itself," an advance in "security, usefulness, welfare and vigor...  [105]
[The fact is that] ...our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.  [105]
...technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities.  [107]
Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build.  [107]
...it is imperative to promote an economy which favors productive diversity and business creativity.  [129]

2/9/16 - 7 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 4 - Integral Ecology

Recognizing the reasons why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society, its economy, its behavior patterns, and the ways it grasps reality.  [139]

...different creatures relate to one another in making up the larger units which today we term "ecosystems."  [140]

Although we are not often aware of it, we depend on these larger systems for our own existence.   [140]

...ecosystems interact in dispersing carbon dioxide, purifying water, controlling illnesses and epidemics, forming soil, breaking down waste, and in many other ways which we overlook or simply do not know about. [140]

Economic growth, for its part, tends to produce predictable reactions and a certain standardization with the aim of simplifying procedures and reducing costs.  [141]

This suggests the need for an "economic ecology" capable of appealing to a broader vision of reality. [141]

We urgently need a humanism capable of bringing together the different fields of knowledge, including economics, in the service of a more integral and integrating vision.  [141]

1/26/16 - 5 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 2 - The Gospel (Good News) of Creation

I am well aware that in the areas of politics and philosophy there are those who firmly reject the idea of a Creator, or consider it irrelevant, and consequently dismiss as irrational the rich contribution which religions can make towards an integral ecology and the full development of humanity.  [62]

Others view religions simply as a subculture to be tolerated.  [62]

Nonetheless, science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both.  [62]

Given the complexity of the ecological crisis and its multiple causes, we need to realize that the solutions will not emerge from just one way of interpreting and transforming reality.  [63]

If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out, and that includes religion and the language particular to it.  [63]

12/29/15 - 6 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 6 - Ecological Education and Spirituality

Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion.  [228]
When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment.  [229]
An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.  [230]  
Social love is the key to authentic development: ...social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a "culture of care" which permeates all of society.  [231]
..."if the world has a beginning and if it has been created, we must inquire who gave it this beginning, and who was its Creator."  [244 - St. Basil the Great.]
Let us sing as we go.  May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.   [244]

12/15/15 - 6 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 4 - Integral Ecology: Cultural Ecology

Ecology, then, also involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity... [143]
... it calls for greater attention to local cultures when studying environmental problems, favoring a dialogue between scientific-technical language and the language of the people.  [143]
Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality... [143]
Together with the patrimony of nature, there is also a historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat.  This patrimony is a part of the shared identity of each place and a foundation upon which to build a habitable city. [143]
New processes taking shape cannot always fit into frameworks imported from outside; they need to be based in the local culture itself. [144]
As life and the world are dynamic realities, so our care for the world must also be flexible and dynamic.  Merely technical solutions run the risk of addressing symptoms and not the more serious underlying problems. [144]

12/1/15 - 5 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Chapter 5: Lines of Approach and Action
            II. Dialogue for New National and Local Policies

True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. [178]

... we are always more effective when we generate processes rather than holding on to positions of power. [178]

... promoting ways of conserving energy ... would include
     favoring forms of industrial production with maximum energy efficiency and diminished use of raw materials, 
     removing from the market products which are less energy efficient or more polluting, 
     improving transport systems, and
     encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution.

Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. [180]  

A healthy politics is sorely needed, capable of reforming and coordinating institutions, promoting best practices and overcoming undue pressure and bureaucratic inertia. [181]

11/17/15 - 7 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Introduction and Chapter 1

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. [23]
At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. [23]
Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. [13]
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. [13]
(on Saint Francis of Assisi)
Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human.  [11]
He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. [10]
We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. [14]

11/3/15 - 5 Excerpts from Laudato Si', Introduction

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. [13]

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. [14]

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. [15]
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.

10/20/15 - 8 Quotes from Laudato Si', Chapter 5: Lines of Approach and Action

How can a society plan and protect its future amid constantly developing technological innovations?  [177]

...technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.  [165]

Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most.  [169]

As the bishops of Bolivia have stated, “the countries which have benefited from a high degree of industrialization, at the cost of enormous emissions of greenhouse gases, have a greater responsibility for providing a solution to the problems they have caused.”  [170]

The growing problem of marine waste and the protection of the open seas represent particular challenges. What is needed, in effect, is an agreement on systems of governance for the whole range of so-called “global commons.”  [174]

In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency.  [179]

...while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference.  [179]

...political and institutional frameworks do not exist simply to avoid bad practice, but also to promote best practice, to stimulate creativity in seeking new solutions and to encourage individual or group initiatives.  [177]

10/6/15 - 6 Quotes from Laudato Si', Chapter 6 

An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation... [225]

Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-racking distractions, or the cult of appearances?  [225]

Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change... [202]

Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning. [210] 

It needs educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care.  [210]

We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.  [229]

9/22/15  - 7 Quotes from Laudato Si', Introduction and Chapter 3  

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. [14] 

The modification of nature for useful purposes has distinguished the human family from the beginning... [102]

Technoscience, when well directed, can produce important means of improving the quality of human life... [103]

How can we not feel gratitude and appreciation for this progress, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering and communications? [102]

[Yet]...our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience. [105]

To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system. [111]

Yet we can once more broaden our vision.  We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology;  we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. [112] 

9/8/15 - 7 Quotes From Laudato Si', Chapter 4 

...everything is interconnected. [138]

...the fragmentation of knowledge and the isolation of bits of information can actually become a form of ignorance, unless they are integrated into a broader vision of reality. [138]

when we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. [139]

when we speak of “sustainable use”, consideration must always be given to each ecosystem’s regenerative ability...[140]

Ecology...entails reflection and debate about the conditions required for the life and survival of society, and the honesty needed to question certain models of development, production and consumption. [138]

We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis that is both social and environmental. [139]

Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.  [139]