Pope Francis’ new encyclical “Laudato Si,’” meaning “Praise be to You,” is the second one he has released during his two year pontificate. The first, mostly written by his predecessor Benedict XVI, was “Lumen Fidei,” or “The Light of Faith.”
Laudato Si’ takes it’s name from St. Francis of Assisi’s medieval Italian prayer “Canticle of the Sun,” which praises God through elements of creation like Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and “our sister Mother Earth.”
The 184-page encyclical covers a variety of topics, and has been one of the most highly anticipated papal documents in recent history. In addition to wading into controversial topics, Pope Francis gave beautiful reflections on life, humanity and our call to care for the world in which we live.
Here are 20 key quotes to remember:
1. “Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate…To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.” (Paragraph 50)
2. “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” (Paragraph 120)
3. “When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor
person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.” (Paragraph 117)
4. “There is a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos. We forget that the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development.” (Paragraph 136)
5. “Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.” (Paragraph 155)
1. “I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically.” (Paragraph 10)
2. “Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems” (Paragraph 81)
3. “Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” (Paragraph 84)
4. “If the simple fact of being human moves people to care for the environment of which they are a part, Christians in their turn realize that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith.” (Paragraph 64)
5. “A healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change.” (Paragraph 218)
6. “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things.” (Paragraph 233)
7. “The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.” (Paragraph 235)
Care for the Environment
1. “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (Paragraph 14)
2. “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another.” (Paragraph 42)
3. “We can once more broaden our vision. We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral.” (Paragraph 112)
4. “There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology. When the human person is considered as simply one being among others, the product of chance or physical determinism, then our overall sense of responsibility wanes.” (Paragraph 118)
5. “A consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today’s globalized economy, has a levelling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity.” (Paragraph 144)
6. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.” (Paragraph 160)
7. “Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.” (Paragraph 189)
8. “Saint Therese of Lisieux invites us to practise the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship. An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.” (Paragraph 230)
*Also, for us who understand the complete and utter uniqueness of life in Rome, this one is for us:
“The quality of life in cities has much to do with systems of transport, which are often a source of much suffering for those who use them. (Paragraph 153)
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