During a news conference at the Vatican Press Office on June 18, 2015, the Holy See presented the second Encyclical Letter that Pope Francis has issued since the beginning of his pontificate. Entitled "Praise be to you, my Lord" (Laudato si'), the central question posed by the Holy Father is: "What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?" (no. 160). Pope Francis continues: "This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal." It leads to questions about the meaning of existence and the values which should be the basis of social life: "What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?" The Holy Father adds, "Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results."
Laudato si' is divided into six chapters: "What is Happening to our Common Home"; "The Gospel of Creation"; "The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis"; "Integral Ecology"; "Lines of Approach and Action"; and "Ecological Education and Spirituality". In the Introduction to his Encyclical, the Holy Father makes the following appeal: "The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home" (no. 13). Pope Francis adds he wants "to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share."
To accompany the Encyclical Letter, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has prepared a listing of its recent texts and statements on the environment, as well as a list of recent joint statements with other Christian Churches and also with other Episcopal Conferences. The list of joint texts includes as well links to recent resources from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). Printed copies of the Encyclical Letter will be available from CCCB Publications for purchase in the coming weeks.
Link to the video "A Life-Giving Ecology For All" (first of 12 videos inspired by and based on the 2013 CCCB text, "Building a New Culture: Central Themes in Recent Church Teaching on the Environment")
Link to Salt + Light TV
"The Ecology Encyclical: Care for Our Common Home"