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Critics and supporters gather in Rome for dialogue on “Laudato Si”

2015-12-23


Pope Francis' ecology encyclical became one of the most widely discussed papal documents in decades when it was published in June. It was also one of the most controversial, even among some Catholics.

While Christians generally agree on the need to take care of the environment and improve our relationship with it, some disagree about the best way to achieve that goal.

At a recent debate, Catholic critics and defenders of the encyclical discussed where they have common ground--and what they disagree on.

MSGR. MARCELO SANCHEZ SORONDO
Chancellor, The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
"We still have time to solve the problem. If we do not do it now, it can get out of hand. That is why the COP 21 summit is important.”

Msgr. Sorondo in a written document, also commented on "the rapacity of the liberal free market and the threats that it poses to the environment.”

Fr. Robert Sirico is the co-founder of the Acton Institute, an organization that promotes free market economics sustained by religious principles. He believes that business, and not just government, can be a force for good in the environment.

FR. ROBERT SIRICO
President, Acton Institute
"We must recall that respecting God’s created order does not mean that it cannot, or must not, be used for the benefit of humankind. Human survival and thriving depends on exercising responsible dominion over creation, by "tilling and keeping” the Garden. This occurs through, one, establishing regimes of property and secondly using material goods in ways that better the human condition.”

Fr. Sirico insists he is loyal to the Pope, but that he is concerned that "Laudato Si” could be "co-opted” by people who misrepresent it to advance views at odds with the Church's beliefs.

FR. ROBERT SIRICO
President, Acton Institute
"The Holy Father has an international responsibility to speak to people in a variety of kinds of circumstances. And I think that it becomes necessary for him to be cautious about the kind of manipulation that can occur.”

There are no simple solutions for how to better care for the environment, and the discussion didn't won't end with just a few debates. But it was clear that a resolution will only come through sustained dialogue.


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