The Pope’s Encyclical letter “ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME”

On June 18th, Pope Francis’ long awaited encyclical, “Laudato Si’ (Praised be to you),” was released. More than just a description of the scientific consensus regarding climate or the effects of climate change, it is a monumental and far-reaching document about our relationships with one another, with nature and with God.


Pope Francis is trying to change the world from a path of unsustainability, inequality and disregard for the natural world and towards a world of sustainability and spiritual fulfillment. He certainly does not lack for ambition! Although it is a Roman Catholic document, the spirit of ecumenicalism and inclusiveness runs through it.

There is something for everyone.

The concepts of social justice, environmentalism and a love of the beauty of nature will resonate with the secular world. Pope Francis writes about providing for the common good and consideration of the least of us. He writes about rejecting practices that diminish the world around us. But since Francis is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, his teachings are directed towards the Church. He uses scripture, teachings and science to tie his thoughts together and to show us what we need to consider as we move forward.

Pope Francis uses language that will be very familiar to the faithful. He uses the Old Testament to show that we should love God the creator for making us and for providing so much for us, including his love. He uses the teachings of Jesus to show us how we should love one another – even if they are the poorest of the poor.

Finally, he uses the life of St. Francis, and others, to point us to how we should love the natural world and its creatures. He speaks of how everything is connected – we are part of a web of humanity and of nature and our selfishness can come back to hurt us. He ties these ideas together into a vast moral argument. He argues that we must not destroy the natural world for the benefit of the few and for short-term profits. But he also has a special place for the poor whose societies are the least resilient to harmful changes and who will suffer the most from climate change. The encyclical and the follow-up could very well be the call to action for those who do not have climate change on their list of big issues and by making the moral argument, he challenges the faithful to act. We’re all in this together.

It’s a document worth reading and re-reading.


CLICK HERE to read the encyclical on the web.

CLICK HERE to download the encyclical as a 1MB pdf file.

Here is a selection of links to what a few others are saying…

The Guardian
Exegesis of Pope Francis’s encyclical call for action on climate change
June 21, 2015

Pope Francis: ‘Revolution’ needed to combat climate change
by Daniel Burke
June 18, 2015

Huffington Post
Pope Francis Releases ‘Laudato Si’ Encyclical And Lays Out Moral Case For Addressing Climate Change
By Jaweed Kaleem
June 18, 2015

US News
In Sweeping Encyclical, Pope Calls on ‘All Humanity’ to Halt Global Warming
by Alan Neuhauser
June 18, 2015

Religion News Service
Pope Francis’ environment encyclical: game-changer or dead letter?
by David Gibson
June 18, 2015

The pope’s climate change encyclical, in tweets
June 18, 2015

National Catholic Reporter
Why Pope Francis’ encyclical matters
by Thomas Reese
June 18, 2015

Washington Post
How climate-change doubters lost a papal fight
by Anthony Faiola and Chris Mooney
June 18, 2015