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Breaking Down the Pope's Encyclical

2015-06-18

It's an encyclical the Pope describes as both dramatic and cheerful. The document titled 'Laudato Si' or Praise be to You, calls on Christians to care for Creation and not ignore the wounds of Mother Nature.

1. LOOKING AT REALITY WITH HONESTY
The Pope describes with great clarity what many scientific experts already agree on, including: 

-Pollution that leads to premature deaths. 
-Global warming, which goes hand in hand with increasing sea levels and other extreme weather conditions. 
-The marginalized, have less and less access to drinkable water. 
-The disappearance of crops and animals that are essential for the survival of many. 

These points, writes the Pope, are at least in part caused by the actions of mankind, so we should act.

PAUL O'CALLAGHAN
Theologian 
"It is not just enough to say: "Well, let's go ahead and make sure that it's true before saying something about it. You can't do this that way, because maybe it will be too late. So if there is a good probability that we could be doing serious irreparable damage to the atmosphere and to the world, it is up to us to make sure that we stop it in time.”

2. UNETHICAL GROWTH
The Pope also says that the problem is not an environmental one, but by and large and ethical issue. He speaks out against companies that increase pollution and contamination in third world countries, because the actions they carry wouldn't be approved in developed nations. 

Case in point: The Amazon. 

MAURICIO LÓPEZ OROPEZA
Executive Secretary, Red Eclesial Panamazónica
"Communities that show us how to look at life differently through a unique perspective are being displaced. Many of them are not only losing their land...they are also losing their identity.” 

The encyclical has triggered controversy even before its publication, especially in the U.S where climate change is still highly debated. 

3. LACK OF INTEREST 
In the document, the Pope laments that efforts to improve conditions and care for Mother Nature usually die out, because of lack of interest. 

He speaks out against "obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, that can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions.”

He calls on Christians to embrace a so called 'ecological conversion' so live out 'our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork.” Something that's not optional or secondary. 

4. CONSISTENCY
He also addresses environmental activists. He  calls on them to not fall into contradiction. He states "when we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself.”

5. ADMIRE NATURE
The encyclical challenges not just politicians, but every day Christians. Because the problem is an ethical issue, the solution, he writes, needs to include an inner reflection. The Pope recommends admiring nature and all its splendor and greatness. To sit back and admire its power, instead of acting like consumers who only want immediate profit. 

POPE FRANCIS
June 17, 2015 
"I ask you to be responsible with the mission God entrusted to mankind with Creation. To cultivate it and care for the garden in which He has placed us.” 

6. YOU ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION 
The Pope writes, "The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now.” One doesn't need to be the head of a company to make changes. Average people can help mother nature as well. 

Therefore, it proposes to change lifestyles through small everyday gestures:

-Recycle 
-Separate Garbage
-Put on a sweater  instead of turning up the heat. 

Even though some believed before reading the Pope's analysis that it wouldn't be 100 percent accurate, ignoring the current state of mother nature, could prove to be a lot more dangerous. 


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