07 Towards an integral ecology - Pope Francis

posted Jul 18, 2018, 10:58 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 18, 2018, 10:58 AM ]
Address of Pope Francis to participants at the International Conference marking the third Anniversary of the encyclical Laudato Si’

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome all of you assembled for this International Conference marking the third anniversary of the encyclical Letter Laudato Si' on care for our common home. In a special way, I would like to greet His Eminence Archbishop Zizioulas, because he and Cardinal Turkson together presented the encyclical three years ago. I thank all of you for coming together to "hear with your hearts" the increasingly desperate cries of the Earth and its poor, who look for our help and concern. You have also gathered to testify to the urgent need to respond to the encyclical's call for change, for an ecological conversion. Your presence here is the sign of your commitment to take concrete steps to save the planet and the life it sustains, inspired by the encyclical's assumption that "everything is connected". That principle lies at the heart of an integral ecology.

Here we can think back on the call that Francis of Assisi received from the Lord in the little church of San Damiano: "Go and repair my house, which, as you can see, lies in ruins." Today, the "common home" of our planet also needs urgently to be repaired and secured for a sustainable future.

In recent decades, the scientific community has developed increasingly accurate assessments in this regard. Indeed, "the pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet's capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world" (Laudato Si', 161). There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse.

So I express my hope that concern for the state of our common home will translate into systematic and concerted efforts aimed at an integral ecology. For "the effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now" (ibid.). Humanity has the knowledge and the means to cooperate in responsibly "cultivating and protecting" the earth. Significantly, your discussions have addressed some of this year's important steps in this direction.

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