Friday, May 15, 2020
Care for our Common Home, 5 Years On
In May of 2015 the Vatican and Pope Francis issued an encyclical on the environment called Laudato Si: On the Care of Our Common Home. It's curious that even though the Roman Catholic Church ditched the Latin mass in the 1960's there is a persistent use in Vatican documents which conveys inaccessibility, to my mind. Laudato Si translates as "praise be to you" and is from the opening of the canticle of St Francis, the patron saint of the environment.
In July of that year I went to an island situated off another island, the province of Newfoundland, with the express purpose of reading Laudato Si carefully and prayerfully. It was a cold July on Change Islands with single digit daily temperatures but I bundled up and sat outside for my reading, overlooking a cove from which people have fished for centuries. I walked shoreline trails as well and took in the raw beauty of a place where tourism has largely become am economic substitute for what was once a robust fishery. The population has plummeted and only a handful of families and children remain.
In the Fall of 2015, during Creation Time in the Christian year, I led a study of Laudato Si which reinforced what a thoughtful document it is with folk who appreciated the connection between Christianity and the environment as Creation, as well as the importance of understanding science as a complement to faith rather than an enemy.
Last September we spent time on Change Islands again and I reread Laudato Si.and was once again impressed by its scope and theological depth. I'm not sure if any other Christian denomination has created a document of such range. I don't agree with everything in Laudato Si, but it stood up well to a second -- third? --reading. It was interesting to come back to my margin notes.
The copy I have was a download from the internet although there are now print copies easy to find through...you know. Since lots of us have time on our hands these days, why not read it? It deserves our attention and I'm sure the Creator would be pleased.
This Saturday marks the beginning of the fifth anniversary of the encyclical and Laudato Si Week.
Here is the Laudato Si anniverary website, a link to the document, and a prayer for the week. Perhaps we could all say it each day. No, I haven't converted to Roman Catholicism, but I am staunchly ecumenical and love our common planetary home!