pope francis_1379610835810_944524_ver1.0_640_480_1386790829863_1635428_ver1.0_640_480In a paragraph of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical letter Laudato Si that strikingly echoes the work of the Brazilian theologian and former Franciscan friar Leonardo Boff, we are reminded of the ways in which the global poor disproportionately suffer the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. Can we learn to draw near to those in our world otherwise systematically excluded from discussions of power and policy, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor?

“It needs to be said that, generally speaking, there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded. Yet they are the majority of the planet’s population, billions of people. These days, they are mentioned in international political and economic discussions, but one often has the impression that their problems are brought up as an afterthought, a question which gets added almost out of duty or in a tangential way, if not treated merely as collateral damage. Indeed, when all is said and done, they frequently remain at the bottom of the pile. This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. They live and reason from the comfortable position of a high level of development and a quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (no. 49)

Photo: File


  1. Thanks for highlighting this. Although the popular media cast the document as being about climate change, that does not do it justice. It is really a blueprint for a just and equitable world that advances the dignity and value of all of God’s creation.

  2. Today (8/20/2015) I attended a lecture by fr. Horan titled “The Sacrament of Creation: St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis’s Laudato Si” (Greensboro, NC). I heard truly most impressive thoughts in his lecture as well as in the discussion. Time was too short to enter my question about the (in my view) informal, implicit acknowledgement in “Laudato Si” of the scientific and theological works from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Which point of view fr. Horan has about this interpretation? Could Teilhard de Chardin now by the RC Church formally become embedded?

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