(Author: Courtney Mares from Catholic News Agency)
Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to participate in “Laudato si’ Week” in May to encourage care for our common home.
“I renew my urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis. The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor cannot wait anywhere,” Pope Francis said in a video message published March 3.
The video shows young protesters yelling, “Climate justice, now” juxtaposed with images of wildlife in Africa and a beached whale.
Laudato si’ Week, sponsored by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development will take place May 16-24. The date marks the 5th anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical on integral human ecology.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement and Renova + are facilitating the campaign.
The Laudato si’ Week website recommends Catholics participate by engaging elected representatives, conducting an energy audit, or divesting in fossil fuels. It also recommends the option to “represent your commitment with a symbolic gesture,” such as planting a tree or attending a climate strike.
Laudato si’, which means “Praise be to You,” was published June 18, 2015, and was dated May 24. Pope Francis took the name for the encyclical from St. Francis of Assisi’s medieval Italian prayer “Canticle of the Sun,” which praises God through elements of creation such as Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and “our sister Mother Earth.”
The encyclical argues that it is not possible to effectively care for the environment without first working to defend human life.
It states that it is “clearly inconsistent” to combat the trafficking of endangered species while remaining indifferent toward the trafficking of persons, to the poor and to the decision of many “to destroy another human being deemed unwanted.”
Pope Francis also highlighted that concern for the protection of nature is “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?” he asked.
The pope also addressed the highly-debated topic of population control, a proposed solution to problems stemming from poverty and maintaining a sustainable consumption of the earth’s resources.
“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,” Francis lamented.
He denounced the fact that developing countries often receive pressure from international organizations who make economic assistance “contingent on certain policies of ‘reproductive health.’”
“In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life,” Pope Francis wrote in Laudato si’.
“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together … for we know that things can change,” he said.