Quantcast
Climate

21 Quotes From Pope Francis' Encyclical Worth Noting

Laudato Si’ came out at the beginning of this summer. This papal encyclical by Pope Francis, all 157 pages of it, addresses the climate crisis but so much more. It addresses it in the context of the overall environmental crisis as well as the crisis of economic inequality and poverty worldwide.

To Pope Francis, “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. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time protecting nature.” (page 94)

“Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us.” (pages 134-135)

I have heard this book described as reflecting an anti-capitalist analysis, but that word is found nowhere in its pages. Pope Francis does, however, make clear what he sees as the root of the “complex crisis” we are faced with. He describes it in these ways, among others, throughout the book:

  • “current models of production and consumption” (page 23)
  • “business interests and consumerism” (page 27)
  • “huge global economic interests” (page 29)
  • “present model of distribution, where a minority believes that is has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized” (page 35)
  • “new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm” (page 38)
  • “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule” (page 40)
  • “powerful financial interests” (page 40)
  • “When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society." (page 57)
  • “The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct and ‘the first principle of the whole ethical and social order.’” (page 64)
  • “The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings.” (page 74)
  • “The culture of consumerism, which prioritizes short-term gain and private interest, can make it easy to rubber-stamp authorizations or to conceal information.” (page 122)
  • “Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention.” (page 125)

For me, I find this kind of specificity about how the dominant system in the world operates refreshing and helpful.

Read page 1

The people’s Pope puts forward a wide range of ideas and proposals for how to effect the kind of fundamental social and economic transformation needed. Most of the ideas are not new. Here is an example of the kind of mix he sees as absolutely necessary:

“A global consensus is essential for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions on the part of individual countries. Such a consensus could lead, for example, to planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, developing renewable and less polluting forms of energy, encouraging a more efficient use of energy, promoting a better management of marine and forest resources and ensuring universal access to drinking water.” (page 110)

What I found of singular and great importance in Laudato Si’ is how the Pope personalizes the solution to our multiple, complex crises. He definitely doesn’t see the solution coming about via new technology or some new ideology or even an updated Catholicism, though, as the Pope, he certainly sees the importance of active Catholic participation in the process of change and renewal. Instead, he says, speaking of our individual responsibilities, that “our goal is not to amass information or 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.” (page 18)

He calls for “a bold cultural revolution ... we need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur.” (page 78)

“Men and women are still capable of intervening positively. For all our limitations, gestures of generosity, solidarity and care cannot but well up within us, since we were made for love.” (page 41)

“Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.” (page 63)

“It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.” (page 107)

“If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.” (page 136)

Just in time, from out of the Global South and an institution with many serious internal challenges, a new Pope has emerged to help lead that institution and the world away from the brink. Thank God.

Ted Glick will join with others in an 18-day, water-only fast in front of FERC starting on Sept. 8, continuing until the day after Pope Francis speaks to the U.S. Congress. Past writings and other information can be found here and he can be followed on Twitter.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Reverend Yearwood: In Remembrance of Katrina, Why We Must Fight for Climate Justice

Call for a Future Powered by 100% Renewables Gains Momentum as UN Climate Talks Resume in Bonn

Despite Pope’s Call to Climate Action, Churches Still Hold Millions in Fossil Fuels

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Right: magpiessoftserve / Instagram Left: veganrobs / Instagram

11 Vegan Food Trends to Watch in 2018

By Danny Prater

New dairy-free favorites, surprising protein sources and automated everything: We've prepped a list of 2019's biggest food trends—all vegan, of course. Like you, millions of people are more curious than ever before about the latest developments in the vegan culinary world. Below, you can check out the newest, fanciest vegan foods and the hottest trends that will help you reduce your environmental footprint, improve your personal health and spare hundreds of animals a violent death in the coming year.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

New York Gov. Proposes State Legalize Recreational Marijuana

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he will push to fully legalize recreational marijuana in the state as part of his agenda for the next year.

"The fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and the well off, and one for everyone else," Cuomo said in a speech about his agenda for the first 100 days of his third term, as quoted by The New York Times.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Circus elephants. Laura LaRose / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey Is First State to Ban Wild Animal Circus Acts

It is now illegal to use elephants, tigers and other wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts in New Jersey, the first state to mandate such a move.

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed "Nosey's Law," the namesake of a 36-year-old African elephant with crippling arthritis that was forced to travel around the country, including to the Garden State, for traveling circus acts and suffered abuse, according to a press release from the governor's office.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. WClarke / CC BY-SA 4.0

Major Investors Pressure Exxon to Set CO2 Reduction Targets

The world's largest oil company is being pressured by major shareholders to take action on climate change.

Institutional investors with an estimated $1.9 trillion under management, led by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) and the Church Commissioners of England (CCE), filed a shareholder resolution calling on ExxonMobil to set targets for lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, covering emissions from both its operations and the use of its products.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Minimize plastic waste by wrapping gifts with reusable, recyclable and biodegradable materials. Westend61 / Getty Images

How to Have Yourself a Plastic-Free Christmas

By Manuela Taboada, Glenda Amayo Caldwell, Hope Johnson, Leonie Barner and Rowena Maguire

Research shows that waste can double during the Christmas period, and most of it is plastic from gift wrapping and packaging. The British, for example, go through more than 40 million rolls of (mostly plastic) sticky tape every year, and use enough wrapping paper to go around the Equator nine times.

We love plastic. It is an amazing material, so ubiquitous in our lives we barely notice it. Unfortunately, plastic waste has become a serious worldwide environmental and health issue. If we don't love the idea of a planet covered in plastic waste, we urgently need to reduce our plastic consumption.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Patrick Neufelder / Pixabay

2018: The Year Things Fell Apart — or the Year the Tide Turned?

By John R. Platt

This has been one hell of a tough year for the planet.

Just look at the past few weeks: The Trump administration tried to bury its own climate report, planned to eliminate sage-grouse protection on millions of acres of oil-rich land, allowed more pollution from coal plants, and then withdrew the Waters of the United States rule, threatening the entire Clean Water Act in the process.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Business
Swen Pförtner / Getty Images

Amazon Employees Praised for Using Shareholder Status to Demand Comprehensive Climate Plan

By Jessica Corbett

A small group of Amazon workers is receiving big praise for their efforts to force their employer to be a better steward of the planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
A container of Johnson's baby powder sits on a table. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson Knew About Asbestos in Baby Powder for Decades, Reuters Investigation Finds

By Jessica Corbett

A Reuters investigation published Friday charges that Johnson & Johnson, a multi-billion dollar company known for its healthcare products, knew for decades that its iconic talcum baby powder "was sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos," but concealed the information from regulators and the public.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!