Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Strong Words that Could Start a Revolution

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis uses strong language to raise the alarm of our existential crisis, prescribes some corrections, and upbraids some common behaviors and mentalities that aggravate the problem. I pulled out those I could find with their source paragraphs indicated for context:
59.  periods of deep crisis which require bold decisions 
61.  things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation 
64.  Christians in their turn “realize that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith”. 
66.  human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. 
67.  we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.  
79.  The work of the Church seeks not only to remind everyone of the duty to care for nature, but at the same time “she must above all protect mankind from self-destruction”. 
 90.  we should be particularly indignant at the enormous inequalities in our midst, whereby we continue to tolerate some considering themselves more worthy than others.
111. generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm. 
114.  the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. Science and technology are not neutral;
159. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.
 185.  water is a scarce and indispensable resource and a fundamental right which conditions the exercise of other human rights. This indisputable fact overrides any other assessment of environmental impact on a region.
186. If objective information suggests that serious and irreversible damage may result, a project should be halted or modified, even in the absence of indisputable proof. 
194. It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress.  
197. A strategy for real change calls for rethinking processes in their entirety, for it is not enough to include a few superficial ecological considerations while failing to question the logic which underlies present-day culture. 
208. Disinterested concern for others, and the rejection of every form of self-centeredness and self-absorption, are essential if we truly wish to care for our brothers and sisters and for the natural environment.
224. it is no longer enough to speak only of the integrity of ecosystems. We have to dare to speak of the integrity of human life, of the need to promote and unify all the great values.  
229. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good. 
Since we need a cultural revolution, where else might it begin than with the leader of something like one-sixth of all people on the planet? Could we take these ideas and spread them to others, igniting a revolution? Francis takes a strong tone in this encyclical. I would like to use these ideas as principles with which to challenge even strangers on behaviors and lifestyle choices that are counter to the Franciscan revolution. Realizing basic limits of my cultural understanding, I would restrict my scolding to others of my generation (Boomers), and take a more respectful or patronizing tone with those of older and younger cohorts. It will be interesting to see where this leads.

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