Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Evangelizers Post: The Philosophy of Laudato Si

I have a new article up at  

Much has already been written about Pope Francis new encyclical.  A great deal of that writing has analyzed the letter through a political lens.  This is not illegitimate, as Pope Francis raises many issues that are explicitly political.  And the mixing of politics and religion is rarely without controversy.

But for this article I would like to focus on the middle section of his letter.  The first part Laudato Si (LS), addresses the perceived ecological problem.  The large sections at the end are about how to deal with the problem.  But the middle establishes the philosophy on which Francis builds his ecological ethic.

What Francis presents is a fundamental rejection of a universe at which man is at the center.  There are many environmentalists who would agree with Francis but they have a different reason.  This is why I think some may misunderstand LS as a letter that devalues man at the expense of the other creatures in the natural world.  Some environmentalists would place the planet at the center with man as simply another species on it.  But Francis does not propose a planet-centric ecology.  This is what makes the philosophy of this letter so important to understand.  Francis asks “To whom does the natural world belong?”  Does it belong to man?  No.  Does it belong to itself?  No.

Nature belongs to God.

You can read the entire article here.

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