Looking at "Laudato Si'" from the Global South

Children swim in a swollen river on Samar Island, Philippines, Dec. 8. Typhoon Hagupit left at least 21 people dead and forced more than a million people into shelters (CNS photo/Francis R. Malasig, EPA).

Coming from a fragile archipelago where the rise in sea level is highest in the world and extreme weather events are predicted to further increase this century, I worry for our future and fervently hope that the clarion call of Pope Francis will be heeded. “Laudato Si’” enjoins all people of goodwill to be concerned about what is happening to our common home. He calls on rich nations to repay their ecological debt to the developing countries by reducing consumption of nonrenewable energy and assisting them in shifting to clean energy and a more sustainable development. He points out the need to address corruption in government in developing countries, which has allowed multinational corporations to unjustly exploit the local resources in ways they could never have done in their home countries.

The encyclical underlines that everyone can do something for our common home. In response to this call, each diocese of the church in the Philippines, in collaboration with other faiths and civil society organizations, can plan to educate and mobilize communities to protect the environment and the threatened resources and species in the area. This without doubt would leave a trail of ecological martyrs. The Global Witness reports that almost a thousand environmental activists opposing mining, deforestation, etc. have been killed from 2002-2013 worldwide, with the number jumping to 20 percent in 2014, a sign that we are in the midst of a global environmental crisis. 

Advertisement

To sustain this commitment as “ecological citizens” thus necessitates a spirituality that inspires, nurtures and provides ultimate meaning to our personal and communal acts. Though “Laudato Si’” explicitly speaks of spirituality only in the last chapter, the whole encyclical is distinctively about an integrative eco-spirituality based on an integral ecology that links labor, technological and social development, with care for creation and the diversity of life forms and cultures, and a special concern for the poor and the vulnerable. The pope elaborates that in the Christian tradition this spirituality finds its deep source in the gospel of creation, the Trinitarian communion and the world as sacrament of this communion.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the president of the U.S.C.C.B., speaks on the removal of Theodore McCarrick from the priesthood: "For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgment will be one small step, among many, toward healing.”
Catholic News ServiceFebruary 16, 2019
Pope Francis has recognized the dismissal from the clerical state, also known as laicization, of Theodore McCarrick, 88, the former cardinal and emeritus archbishop of Washington.
Gerard O’ConnellFebruary 16, 2019
Fr. Eric Sundrup, S.J. sat down with John Anderson, Eloise Blondiau and Bill McGarvey to discuss the Oscars for a special edition of America This Week. Who do you think should win the Academy Award for Best Picture?
Ciaran FreemanFebruary 15, 2019
As we head into Oscars season, here are 10 of the best and most diverse films that did not get nominated for an Oscar but still merit watching.
Olga SeguraFebruary 15, 2019