Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home

“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

This tweet and the number of retweets caught my eye. I dig deeper to know about it. I realized that  it seems that everyone is talking about it, but few people have actually read the entire 183-page document. The summary did not quenched my thirst so tried to read the whole document.

On June 18, Pope Francis released encyclical on the topic of climate change, the environment and other global challenges. This encyclical is called as “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home,”

In this document Pope Francis appear as the master of metaphor and analogy. For example, among the 38,000 words contained in the climate change letter, Francis chose to post the following 17-word tweet: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
The sentence in encyclical is written as “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish”
Also, in the encyclical’s title and first paragraph, Francis uses the metaphor of Earth as our “common home” and the analogy that it’s “like a sister with whom we share our life.” “This sister now cries out to us,”

Common questions
What is an encyclical?
Actually it is considered as one of the weightiest forms of papal writing, an encyclical takes the form of a letter, usually addressed to members of the Catholic Church but sometimes also to society at large. It was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. In recent times, an encyclical is generally used for significant issues, and is second in importance only to the highest ranking document now issued by popes, an Apostolic Constitution. And this one, “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home,”
(A papal (relating to a pope) is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church.)

Why has this encyclical received so much attention?
No previous pope has devoted an entire encyclical to the environment, climate change.

What does this encyclical say about climate change?
Pope Francis calls global warming a major threat to life on the planet and says it is mainly caused by human activity. He argues there is an “urgent” need for policies that reduce carbon emissions, among other ways, by “substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

Understanding

It traditionally takes months for papal teaching documents, known as encyclicals, to be read, understood and disseminated, I too went surficial to the document and here I have tried to highlight some of the best lines written in the document that I found worth sharing to you.

Some of the best lines

  1.  Our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.
  2.  This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.
  3.  The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.
  4.  We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth, our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.
  5.  We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.
  6.  An awareness of the gravity of today’s cultural and ecological crisis must be translated into new habits.
  7.  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.
  8.  God has written a precious book, “whose letters are the multitude of created things present in the universe
  9.  The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.
  10.  Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods.
  11.  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”.
  12.  Human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us.
  13.  If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.
  14.  The degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey,
  15.  The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together
  16.  We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.
  17.  Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society.
  18.  The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”
  19.  If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.
  20.  A consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today’s globalized economy, has a levelling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity.
  21.  The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
  22.  It can be said that many problems of today’s world stem from the tendency, at times unconscious, to make the method and aims of science and technology an epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society.
  23.  When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously.
  24.  True ecological approach always becomes a social approach
  25.  We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference.
  26.  Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an “ecology of man”, based on the fact that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will”
  27.  We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next,
  28.  Greater investment needs to be made in research aimed at understanding more fully the functioning of ecosystems and adequately analyzing the different variables associated with any significant modification of the environment.
  29.  Technoscience, when well directed, can produce important means of improving the quality of human life
  30.  We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems.

I believe actually this is a worldwide wake up call to help humanity understand the destruction that man is rendering to the environment and his fellow man. Pope is smart enough to take the religion and science together. It may take time to fully understand it and make proper use of it in daily behavior. But it is one of the best way to enlighten people on environment and make conscious to the people about their daily activities that is affecting our planet earth.
Hope everybody will soon understand our mother earth; her cry of pain and join hand together to make her smile so that we will be able to live long together with her 🙂

 

Major titles of the encyclical

Nothing In This World Is Indifferent To Us
United By The Same Concern
Saint Francis Of Assisi
My Appeal
Chapter One— What Is Happening To Our Common Home
I. Pollution And Climate Change
Pollution, Waste And The Throwaway Culture
Climate As A Common Good
Ii. The Issue Of Water
Iii. Loss Of Biodiversity
Iv. Decline In The Quality Of Human Life And The Breakdown Of Society
V. Global Inequality
Vi. Weak Responses
Vii. A Variety Of Opinions
Chapter Two —The Gospel Of Creation
I. The Light Offered By Faith
Ii. The Wisdom Of The Biblical Accounts
Iii. The Mystery Of The Universe
Iv. The Message Of Each Creature In The Harmony Of Creation
V. A Universal Communion
Vi. The Common Destination Of Goods
Vii. The Gaze Of Jesus
Chapter Three – The Human Roots Of The Ecological Crisis
I. Technology: Creativity And Power
Ii. The Globalization Of The Technocratic Paradigm
Iii. The Crisis And Effects Of Modern Anthropocentrism
Practical Relativism
The Need To Protect Employment
New Biological Technologies
Chapter Four – Integral Ecology
I. Environmental, Economic And Social Ecology
Ii. Cultural Ecology
Iii. Ecology Of Daily Life
Iv. The Principle Of The Common Good
V. Justice Between The Generations
Chapter Five – Lines Of Approach And Action
I. Dialogue On The Environment In The International Community
Ii. Dialogue For New National And Local Policies
Iii. Dialogue And Transparency In Decision-Making
Iv. Politics And Economy In Dialogue For Human Fulfilment
V. Religions In Dialogue With Science
Chapter Six – Ecological Education And Spirituality
I. Towards A New Lifestyle
Ii. Educating For The Covenant Between Humanity And The Environment
Iii. Ecological Conversion
Iv. Joy And Peace
V. Civic And Political Love
Vi. Sacramental Signs And The Celebration Of Rest
Vii. The Trinity And The Relationship Between Creature
Viii. Queen Of All Creation
Ix. Beyond The Sun

Finally here is the prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
hat we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

I copied some of the lines without asking permission with 😛 Appendix 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.pdf (pdf version of the document)
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2105201-laudato-si-inglese.html (original document)
http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/summary-of-laudato-si-pope-francis-encyclical-environment-quotes.html#toc (summary)
Read more at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/22/world/few-echo-popes-environment-plea-in-sunday-sermons.html?_r=1
http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2015/06/18/5-things-to-know-about-pope-francis-encyclical-laudato-si/
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/18/pope-francis-encyclical-extract

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3 thoughts on “Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home

  1. I am disgusted by the way people treat the land. I am disgusted even here in Lisbon at the dirty streets. I am disgusted by so many people who are too lazy to recycle as much of their waste as possible

    1. Firstly, I believe we don’t have ample knowledge secondly everyone thinks if everyone is not doing why should I do. Dai personally I found this encyclical very inspiring, I think everyone should read this 🙂

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