On October 4, Pope Francis issued an apostolic exhortation titled Laudate Deum ( Praise God) 8 years after his ground breaking encyclical on integral ecology, Laudato Si’ (Praise Be). He says that our responses to the suffering of our common home have not been adequate and our planet may be reaching the breaking point. The Pope’s message is still the same, but he has provided us with an update on developments which only increase the need for urgent action to address the ecological crises we face.
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns offers us 5 takeaways from the document:
Climate change is real and is caused by human activity.
The Pope feels compelled to make this point and offer further scientific evidence to back it up because of continuing dismissiveness of the reality of climate change by some in the Church and the wider community.
Damage caused by climate change is often irreversible and unequally distributed.
The Pope reminds us that richer people and countries are responsible for most of the damage caused by climate change, but poorer people and countries bear a greater burden in terms of climate impacts. He sees agreement on a Loss and Damage Fund as a good outcome of COP27, but urges world leaders to be more precise about the concrete responsibilities of rich nations to assist poorer countries with compensation for the ecological damage they have already experienced because of climate change.
Technocracy is not the answer.
The Holy Father says that rich people and countries cannot simply rely heavily on technological solutions. He urges us to embrace different lifestyles which significantly reduce our contribution to the climate crisis.
World cooperation is necessary, but our responses so far have been inadequate.
Pope Francis decries the failure of successive UN climate change conferences to live up to their promise. Outcomes and implementation have been disappointing. That is not to say that there is no hope. He points to movements which have led to more promising outcomes such as the Ottawa Process.
Humanity is intimately connected with the rest of God’s creation.
The Holy Father reiterates the core message of Laudato Si’, viz., that everything is connected. He implores us to reconcile with the world of which we are a part and to care for it.
The full text of the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation is available here.
Faith groups are inviting people of faith to sign onto a letter to all those attending the COP28 in Dubai next month. Noting the shortcomings of the Loss and Damage Fund proposal to date, the letter seeks action to ensure that the fund is an effective means for compensating poorer countries for climate impacts they are already experiencing. You can add your name to this letter at: