“I wish to address every living person on this planet.”

“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation that includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”    Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

Columbia River Gorge

(Columbia Gorge) “If we acknowledge the value and fragility of nature and, at the same time, our God-given abilities, we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress.” Pope Francis

Pope Francis will visit the United States September 22 – 27 and will no doubt speak about climate change.

His recently published encyclical on the environment and human ecology can be downloaded for free or ordered at this link: Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.

I believe Laudato Si’ will prove to be one of the most important documents of our time. It is a stirring, eloquent, and direct call to action.

I’ll be featuring it here on Books Can Save a Life during the pope’s visit. I hope you’ll read it along with me and join in our discussion. I welcome both secular and faith-based perspectives.

On Care for Our Common Home is urgent and wide-ranging; you may be surprised at the topics addressed as the pope seeks to show how our values and our actions have far-reaching implications for humanity and for the planet.

Here are some excerpts to get us started:

“…the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor…”

“The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.”

“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

“…access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”

“We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.”

“We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.”

“…when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously…True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution….Today’s media….shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences….alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.”

Please share this post on social media and leave a comment. Will you be watching and listening to Pope Francis? Have you read, or read about, Laudato Si’? Do you agree that it may prove to be one of the most important documents of our time?

Laudato Si' books

7 responses

  1. I just discovered you Valerie and subscribed to your blog. When I saw that you were reviewing Laudato Si, I was immediately interested. After having learned Laudato Si in the original Italian/Latin of St. Francis, I was moved by the title of Pope Francis’ first encyclical letter. What a moving bit of writing about our Common Home! I feel blessed to know this leader is in our country right now. I’m an essayist having just published a second slim volume of essays with the earth/garden as metaphor for our aging. I look forward to following your blog Valerie. Thank you. I’m in Portland, Oregon and my blog/newsletter can be found at http://www.life-change-compost.com.

      • Thank you Valerie! I’m in the process of making the transition from a “gardening” blog to the more inclusive “essayist who writes about the garden.” Wish me luck! You can find my latest gift-book about friendship and love, my failed attempts to grow beets, thoughts about cancer, and women learning to say “NO” at http://www.amazon.com/author/susantroccolo. Hope to meet up with you some day! (And yes, I love it that the Pope is in our country, just love it.)

  2. I’m hopeful that the Pope’s words and ideologies on what’s happening to the Earth, its resources, and her peoples will indeed start a viable conversation that causes everyone, including the media and politicians, to act differently now. I remember 20 years ago when some of the first conversations (or perhaps TV ads?) tried to “guilt” people into action by saying “We owe it to our children to leave them with a clean home.” Unfortunately, much of the generation targeted were/are self-indulgent, citing “not my problem; I won’t be here.” Or “it’s too costly to change the momentum now.”

    The evidence is clear. I pray for this wake-up call

    Thank you for including quotes from the book. I appreciate them since I haven’t read the book, Val.

    My favorite lines of Pope Francis are pinned to my wall:
    “We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.”

    “We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.”

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