WelCom July 2020:
The Vatican is encouraging Catholics to put their faith into action to promote integral ecology and care of creation. It has released a new 200-page document, On the Journey for Care of the Common Home, following the inspiration of Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ encyclical.
The introduction says, ‘the intention is to offer an orientation to the action of Catholics (but not only) in the secular dimension and to ask every Christian to examine their own behaviour, also in everyday life…’. The call to action was written in view of what Pope Francis wrote in Laudato si’ – ‘a healthy relationship with creation as a dimension of the integral conversion of the person’.
The Holy See’s inter-dicastery group for integral ecology, formed in 2018, put the text together. The booklet’s release on June 18, was during the fifth anniversary of the publication of Laudato si’. Its 12 thematic sections each begin with a quotation from Laudato si’, followed by an introduction and contextualisation of the quotation and references for related papal documents and speeches from Pope Francis and several of his predecessors. Each section concludes with actions to take and examples of ‘best practices’ from Catholic groups and bishops’ conferences around the world on caring for the common home.
The starting point is what Pope Francis calls the encyclical’s pillars, including the relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, ‘the belief that everything in the world is intimately connected’, ‘the invitation to look for other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the proper value of each creature’ and ‘the serious responsibility of international and local politics’.
The Holy See and the Vatican City State are also making their own changes to be more environmentally friendly ‘with everyday actions’ such as recycling, using more energy-efficient lights, recycling the water used in fountains and the installation of solar panels. A project being pursued but which had to be paused during the coronavirus emergency is the installation of a composter on Vatican property.