Laudato Si and Francis I’s Implications for the Future’s Environment

The Catholic Church has a long history, from ruling Rome to battling science lessons about evolution in public schools. However, despite their scandals, scientific debates, and uncovered secrets, they are also one of the latest organizations to join the fight against climate change.

Francis I issued an encyclical to the Church in June 201 called Laudato Si, or “Praise Be to You” in Latin. This encyclical, like many others, acknowledged a pivotal time for the Church. With the climate crisis rising, science proving it, and evidence of environmental injustice coming from it, the Church hit a point where they had to comply or deny. Francis I, seeing all the interpersonal despair caused by resource inequality, wrote, “We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (Francis I, #49, pp. 30).

I have always been one to judge the Catholic Church. I believe its institutions have created victims, spread lies, and manipulated masses. However, I have never been one to deny anybody’s good work. While my personal biases against the Church exist, it’s nice to see them on a team besides their own.

Some issues in Laudato Si are obvious, but the most noticeable and prominent is Francis I’s discussion of abortion. He claims, “It is clearly inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor, or undertaking to destroy another human being deemed unwanted” (Francis I, #91, pp. 56). This false equivalency fails to consider widespread orphans or the lack of resources to help them, let alone the turbulent life an unwanted child could grow into.

Overall, Laudato Si is a courageous, groundbreaking encyclical to hit the Church. No matter its inconsistencies or fallacies, it facilitates the interconnection between Church and environment. The more feet on the ground fighting climate change, the better. This piece, despite its shortcomings, is an artifact of hope for the future of the world. 

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