(NCR Online) It’s been two years since the release of ‘Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” the first encyclical in the history of the Catholic Church to focus on ecology and care for creation. Yet in those two years, the appreciation for this document among the Catholic faith community is not entirely evident.
Nor is the gravity of the social and environmental issues about which Pope Francis so eloquently exhorts, including the exploitation of natural resources, our ” ‘throwaway’ culture of consumerism,” and climate change — a grave issue that is already impacting the lives of millions worldwide.
Two years later, care for creation is highlighted as an important aspect of Catholic social teaching within environmental justice organizations. Sadly, however, it seems not much has really changed when it comes to “mainstream” Catholics.
Of the 177 dioceses in the U.S., only a handful have actually made environmental justice and issues like climate change a priority, or have pursued efforts to reduce energy and resource consumption. While there has been acknowledgement by some in the church that care for the environment is a “life” issue, the full body and its most visible structures have yet to truly recognize this connection.
Likewise, there has been no rejection of government leaders who promote exploitation of natural resources, purportedly for the sake of the economy and jobs. In fact, claiming to be pro-life (sans pro-environment) has become the only “litmus test” for a candidate’s qualification for office. [More]