Pope’s Intentions for October: Prayer Intention for evangelization: The Laity’s Mission in the Church. “We pray that by the virtue of Baptism, the Laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.”
Today we look at paragraph 6 of the Pope’s Encyclical, “Laudato Si”, ‘On Care for our Common Home’:
My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed “eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment”.  He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since “the book of nature is one and indivisible”, and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that “the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence”. Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. We have forgotten that “man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature”.  With paternal concern, Benedict urged us to realize that creation is harmed “where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our property and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves”’.
In this paragraph we see Pope Francis focus on Pope Benedict’s understanding of the world and how we should see it. Francis quotes him; “the book of nature is one and indivisible”. Every aspect of nature should not be analysed separately but in the light of all its dimensions. Pope Francis writes that it ‘includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations and so forth’. All aspects of human life are intricately bound together and decisions in one area have an effect on the others. The industrial harvesting of timber in the Amazon rainforests has a profound effect on the indigenous people there and their existence. It is one of many examples of how economic decisions made without concern for how they impinge on the lives of the vulnerable, jead to suffering and pain for many while others profit immensely. Pope Benedict sums it up in a sentence quoted by Pope Francis above: “the misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognise any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves.”