The Pope’s Encyclical, “Laudato Si”, ‘On Care for our Common Home’

We continue with our reflection on the Pope’s Encyclical, “Laudato Si”, ‘On Care for our Common Home’. Today we look at paragraph four:

“In 1971, eight years after Pacem in Terris, Blessed Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”.[2] He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”, inasmuch as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against man”.[3]

In this paragraph Pope Francis gives us a view of what now Pope Saint Paul VI saw as an ever-increasing problem. He warns about the ‘potential for an ‘ecological catastrophe’ unless humanity’s development was supported by social and moral progress, In the near fifty years since he expressed his concern the lack of moral responsibility in dealing with the resources of the world have led us to where we are how in relation to climate change and destruction of many natural habitats and the extinction and near-extinction of so many species.