5 reasons Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment matters

Reynard Loki writes: Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical on the environment has been described as “long-awaited” and “much-anticipated.” Indeed, as Peter Smith, who covers religion for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, recently put it: “Rarely in modern times has a major papal pronouncement received so much attention and debate before it’s even been delivered.” And why not? In addition to being Francis’s first encyclical, it will be the first encyclical on the environment in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

The landmark document is expected to be issued sometime this summer, and perhaps even later this month, with the title “Laudato Sii” (“Praised Be You”), taken from the pope’s namesake St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun, which praises God for creation, and the subtitle “Sulla cura della casa commune” (“On the care of the common home”). Published around the year 1224, St Francis’s prayer reads: “Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun,” and continues to praise God for “Sister Moon,” “Brothers Wind and Air,” “Sister Water,” “Brother Fire, and “Mother Earth.”

In a speech he delivered in Ireland in March, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which prepared the first draft of the encyclical, said that Laudato Sii “will explore the relationship between care for creation, integral human development and concern for the poor.” [Continue reading…]

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