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Pope Francis released his highly anticipated encyclical letter Laudato si’ – Praise be to you on June 18, in Rome. This Encyclical calls on every person living on this planet to care for creation, our common home, and take collective action as we face global environmental degradation. It offers a unique opportunity for the Catholic community to enter into dialogue on important social and environmental issues, such as  fossil fuel consumption and climate change.

Jacqui Remond, Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, joyfully received the Pope’s Encyclical. She said, “Laudato Si’ is an inspiration and a game-changer. It offers us in Australia a powerful moral and spiritual imperative for environmental and social action. This encyclical calls on us all  to embrace a new lifestyle that respects all of creation, and asks our leaders to commit to effective global agreements.”

What exactly is an encyclical?

Encyclicals get their name from the Greek word for circle, or circular. They are important letters from the Pope that help everyone better understand how to apply the teachings of Sacred Scripture and Catholic Tradition to a particular issue (in this case, the environment).

Traditionally encyclicals were forwarded to bishops and local churches, who would then copy and forward them to other bishops and local churches, until the entire Church received the message. Today’s encyclicals are immediately posted on the Vatican website in many languages for all the world to read.

What are the key messages in Laudato Si’?

The question at the heart of Laudato Si’ is “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (paragraph 160). This question is explored in numerous ways through the key themes in Pope Francis’ Encyclical.

These themes include:

  • The intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet
  • The conviction that everything in the world is connected
  • The critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology
  • The call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress
  • The value proper to each creature
  • The human meaning of ecology
  • The need for forthright and honest debate
  • The serious responsibility of international and local policy
  • The throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle (paragraph 16)

How is Catholic Earthcare responding to Laudato si’?

  • As an executive agency of the Bishops’ Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development, we have issued a media release and are available to speak with the media.
  • We have been involved in a number of events to spread the word of Laudato si’.
  • We have partnered with Catholic Religious Australia and Catholic Mission to produce a book called The Francis Effect II, which has 12 contributing authors (including Jacqui Rémond and Tess Corkish from Catholic Earthcare). The book was released on August 4, and is being followed by a colloquium offered in every diocese.
  • We have partnered with Caritas Australia and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council to develop a number of climate change resources and host an event at Parliament House in Canberra.
  • We have partnered with Garratt Publishers to release a Laudato Si’ Reading Guide for parishes and schools.
  • We have partnered with the Global Catholic Climate Movement to promote actions such as Meatless Fridays and the Catholic Climate Petition.

How can you respond to Laudato si’

We want to support the Australian community in responding to Pope Francis’ call to protect “Our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us…”(2)

Here is a list of actions you can begin today.

We also have a  list of resources and actions specifically for schools and parishes.

Useful documents

Events and speakers

Representative of Catholic Earthcare Australia are available to speak and present at Laudato si’ events. If you would like to request a presentation, please email us at admin@catholicearthcare.org.au.

Media

Jacqui Rémond the Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia is an official spokespeople for the Catholic Church on Laudato Si’. For media interviews please contact Simon Habel on 0408 835 103 or simon@catholicearthcare.org.au.