18-06-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 114
|- Overview of the Encyclical Laudato si'|
|- Press conference for the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato si'|
|- The Pope continues his visits to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia|
|- Other Pontifical Acts|
|Overview of the Encyclical Laudato si'|
Vatican City, 18 June 2015 (VIS) – The following text offers an overview of the 191 pages of the Encyclical Laudato si' and its key points, along with a summary of each of its six chapters (“What is happening to our common home”, “The Gospel of Creation”, “The human roots of the ecological crisis”, “Integral ecology”, “Lines of approach and action”, and “Ecological education and spirituality”). The Encyclical concludes with an interreligious prayer for our earth and a Christian prayer for Creation.
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (160). This question is at the heart of Laudato si’ (May You be praised), the anticipated Encyclical on the care of the common home by Pope Francis. “This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal”. This leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values at the basis of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?” “Unless we struggle with these deeper issues – says the Pope – I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results”-.
The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of St. Francis, “Praise be to you, my Lord”, in his Canticle of the Creatures. It reminds us that the earth, our common home “is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us”. We have forgotten that “we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”
Now, this earth, mistreated and abused, is lamenting, and its groans join those of all the forsaken of the world. Pope Francis invites us to listen to them, urging each and every one – individuals, families, local communities, nations and the international community – to an “ecological conversion”, according to the expression of St. John Paul II. We are invited to “change direction” by taking on the beauty and responsibility of the task of “caring for our common home”. At the same time, Pope Francis recognises that “there is a growing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet”. A ray of hope flows through the entire Encyclical, which gives a clear message of hope. “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home”. “Men and women are still capable of intervening positively”. “All is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start”.
Pope Francis certainly addresses the Catholic faithful, quoting St. John Paul II: “Christians in their turn “realise that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith”“. Pope Francis proposes specially “to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home”. The dialogue runs throughout the text and in chapter 5 it becomes the instrument for addressing and solving problems. From the beginning, Pope Francis recalls that “other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have also expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections” on the theme of ecology. Indeed, such contributions expressly come in, starting with that of “the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”, extensively cited in numbers 8-9. On several occasions, then, the Pope thanks the protagonists of this effort – individuals as well as associations and institutions. He acknowledges that “the reflections of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups, all […] have enriched the Church’s thinking on these questions”. He invites everyone to recognize “the rich contribution which the religions can make towards an integral ecology and the full development of humanity”.
The itinerary of the Encyclical is mapped out in n. 15 and divided into six chapters. It starts by presenting the current situation based on the best scientific findings available today, next, there is a review of the Bible and Judeo-Christian tradition. The root of the problems in technocracy and in an excessive self-centredness of the human being are analysed. The Encyclical proposes an “integral ecology, which clearly respects its human and social dimensions”, inextricably linked to the environmental question. In this perspective, Pope Francis proposes to initiate an honest dialogue at every level of social, economic and political life, that builds transparent decision-making processes, and recalls that no project can be effective if it is not animated by a formed and responsible conscience. Ideas are put forth to aid growth in this direction at the educational, spiritual, ecclesial, political and theological levels. The text ends with two prayers; one offered for sharing with everyone who believes in “God who is the all-powerful Creator”, and the other to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, punctuated by the refrain “Praise be to you!” which opens and closes the Encyclical.
Several main themes run through the text that are addressed from a variety of different perspectives, traversing and unifying the text: the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policies, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle.
Chapter 1 – WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR COMMON HOME (Pollution and climate change; Pollution, refuse and the culture of waste; Climate as a common good; The issue of water; Loss of biodiversity; Decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society; Global inequality; Weak responses; A variety of opinions).
The chapter presents the most recent scientific findings on the environment as a way to listen to the cry of creation, “to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it”. It thus deals with “several aspects of the present ecological crisis”.
Pollution and climate change: “Climate change is a global problem with serious implications, environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods; it represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day”. If “the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all”, the greatest impact of this change falls on the poorest, but “many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”. “Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded”.
The issue of water: the Pope clearly states that “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights”. To deprive the poor of access to water means to deny “the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity”.
Loss of biodiversity: “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever”. They are not just any exploitable “resource”, but have a value in and of themselves. In this perspective “we must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems”, but when human intervention is at the service of finance and consumerism, “it is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey”.
Decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society: in the framework of an ethics of international relationships, the Encyclical indicates how a “true “ecological debt” exists in the world, with the North in debt to the South. In the face of climate change, there are “differentiated responsibilities”, and those of the developed countries are greater.
Aware of the profound differences over these issues, Pope Francis shows himself to be deeply affected by the “weak responses” in the face of the drama of many peoples and populations. Even though there is no lack of positive examples, there is “a complacency and a cheerful recklessness”. An adequate culture is lacking as well as a willingness to change life style, production and consumption, while there are efforts being made “to establish a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems”.
Chapter Two – THE GOSPEL OF CREATION (The light offered by faith; The wisdom of the Biblical accounts; The mystery of the universe; The message of each creature in the harmony of creation; A universal communion; The common destination of goods; The gaze of Jesus).
To face the problems illustrated in the previous chapter, Pope Francis selects Biblical accounts, offering a comprehensive view that comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition. With this he articulates the “tremendous responsibility” of humankind for creation, the intimate connection among all creatures and the fact that “the natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone”.
In the Bible, “the God who liberates and saves is the same God who created the universe, and these two divine ways of acting are intimately and inseparably connected”. The story of creation is central for reflecting on the relationship between human beings and other creatures and how sin breaks the equilibrium of all creation in its entirety: “These accounts suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin”.
For this, even if “we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays 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”. Human beings have the responsibility to ““till and keep” the garden of the world”, knowing that “the ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward, with us and through us, towards a common point of arrival, which is God”.
That the human being is not the master of the universe “does not mean to put all living beings on the same level and to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinisation of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility”. In this perspective, “every act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity”. However, “a sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings”. What is needed is the awareness of a universal communion: “called into being by the one Father. All of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect”.
The chapter concludes with the heart of Christian revelation: “The earthly Jesus” with “his tangible and loving relationship with the world” is “risen and glorious, and is present throughout creation by his universal Lordship”.
Chapter three – THE HUMAN ROOTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS (Technology: creativity and power; The globalisation of the technocratic paradigm; The crisis and effects of modern anthropocentrism; Practical relativism; The need to protect employment; New biological technologies).
This chapter gives an analysis of the current situation, “so as to consider not only its symptoms but also its deepest causes”, in a dialogue with philosophy and the human sciences.
Reflections on technology are an initial focus of the chapter: the great contribution to the improvement of living conditions is acknowledged with gratitude. However it gives “those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world”. It is precisely the mentality of technocratic domination that leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people and the most vulnerable populations. “The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economics and political life”, keeping us from recognising that “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion”.
“Modernity has been marked by an excessive anthropocentrism”: human beings no long recognise their right place with respect to the world and take on a self-centred position, focused exclusively on themselves and on their own power. This results in a “use and throw away” logic that justifies every type of waste, environmental or human, that treats both the other and nature as simple objects and leads to a myriad of forms of domination. It is this mentality that leads to exploiting children, abandoning the elderly, forcing others into slavery and over-evaluating the capacity of the market to regulate itself, practising human trafficking, selling pelts of animals in danger of extinction and of “blood diamonds”. It is the same mentality as many mafias, of those involved in trafficking organs and drug trafficking and of throwing away unborn babies because they do not correspond to what the parents want.
In this light, the Encyclical addresses two crucial problems of today’s world. Above all work: “any approach to an integral ecology, which by definition does not exclude human beings, needs to take account of the value of labour”, because “to stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society”.
The second problem regards the limitations of scientific progress, with clear reference to GMOs. This is a “complex environmental issue”. Even though “in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated”, starting from the “productive land being concentrated in the hands of a few owners”. Pope Francis thinks particularly of small producers and rural workers, of biodiversity, and the network of ecosystems. Therefore “a broad, responsible scientific and social debate needs to take place, one capable of considering all the available information and of calling things by their name” starting from “lines of independent, interdisciplinary research”.
Chapter four – INTEGRAL ECOLOGY (Environmental, economic and social ecology; Cultural ecology; Ecology of daily life; The principle of the common good; Justice between the generations).
The heart of what the Encyclical proposes is integral ecology as a new paradigm of justice; an ecology “which respects our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings”. In fact, “nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live”. This is true as we are involved in various fields: in economy and politics, in different cultures particularly in those most threatened, and even in every moment of our daily lives.
The integral perspective also brings the ecology of institutions into play: “if everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions affects the environment and the quality of human life. “Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment”.
With many concrete examples, Pope Francis confirm his thinking that “the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts, and of how individuals relate to themselves”. “We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental”.
“Human ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good”, but is to be understood in a concrete way. In today’s context, in which, “injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable”, committing oneself to the common good means to make choices in solidarity based on “a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters”. This is also the best way to leave a sustainable world for future generations, not just by proclaiming, but by committing to care for the poor of today, as already emphasised by Benedict XVI: “In addition to a fairer sense of inter-generational solidarity there is also an urgent moral need for a renewed sense of intra-generational solidarity”.
Integral ecology also involves everyday life. The Encyclical gives specific attention to the urban environment. The human being has a great capacity for adaptation and “an admirable creativity and generosity is shown by persons and groups who respond to environmental limitations by alleviating the adverse effects of their surroundings and learning to live productively amid disorder and uncertainty”. Nevertheless, authentic development presupposes an integral improvement in the quality of human life: public space, housing, transport, etc.
Also “the acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation”.
Chapter five – LINES OF APPROACH AND ACTION (Dialogue on the environment; In the international community; Dialogue for new national and local policies; Dialogue and transparency in decision-making; Politics and economy in dialogue for human fulfilment; Religions in dialogue with science).
This chapter addresses the question of what we can and must do. Analyses are not enough: we need proposals “for dialogue and action which would involve each of us individually no less than international policy”. They will “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”. For Pope Francis it is imperative that the developing real approaches is not done in an ideological, superficial or reductionist way. For this, dialogue is essential, a term present in the title of every section of this chapter. “There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. […] the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I want to encourage an honest and open debate, so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good”.
On this basis, Pope Francis is not afraid to judge international dynamics severely: “Recent World Summits on the environment have failed to live up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment”. And he asks “What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?”. Instead, what is needed, as the Popes have repeated several times, starting with Pacem in terris, are forms and instruments for global governance: “an agreement on systems of governance for the whole range of the so-called “global commons”“, seeing that “environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations of costs and benefits. The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces” (190, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church).
In this fifth chapter, Pope Francis insists on development of honest and transparent decision-making processes, in order to “discern” which policies and business initiatives can bring about “genuine integral development”. In particular, a proper environmental impact study of new “business ventures and projects demands transparent political processes involving a free exchange of views. On the other hand, the forms of corruption which conceal the actual environmental impact of a given project in exchange for favours usually produce specious agreements which fail to inform adequately and do not allow for full debate”.
The most significant appeal is addressed to those who hold political office, so that they avoid “a mentality of “efficiency” and “immediacy” that is so prevalent today: “but if they are courageous, they will attest to their God-given dignity and leave behind a testimony of selfless responsibility”.
Chapter six – ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION AND SPIRITUALITY (Towards a new lifestyle; Educating for the covenant between humanity and the environment; Ecological conversion; Joy and peace; Civic and political love; Sacramental signs and the celebration of rest; The trinity and relationships between creatures; Queen of all creation; Beyond the sun).
The final chapter invites everyone to the heart of ecological conversion. The roots of the cultural crisis are deep, and it is not easy to reshape habits and behaviour. Education and training are the key challenges: “change is impossible without motivation and a process of education” (15). All educational sectors are involved, primarily “at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis and elsewhere”.
The starting point is “to aim for a new lifestyle”, which also opens the possibility of “bringing healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power”. This is what happens when consumer choices are able to “change the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production”.
The importance of environmental education cannot be underestimated. It is able to affect actions and daily habits, the reduction of water consumption, the sorting of waste and even “turning off unnecessary lights”: “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness”. Everything will be easier starting with a contemplative outlook that comes from faith: “as believers, we do not look at the world from without but from within, conscious of the bonds with which the Father has linked us with all beings. By developing our individual, God-given capacities, an ecological conversion can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm”.
As proposed in Evangelii Gaudium: “sobriety, when lived freely and consciously, is liberating”, just as “happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us, and being open to the many different possibilities which life can offer”. In this way “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it”.
The saints accompany us on this journey. St. Francis, cited several times, is “the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically”. He is the model of “the inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace”. The Encyclical also mentions St. Benedict, St. Teresa di Lisieux and Blessed Charles de Foucauld.
After Laudato si’, the regular practice of an examination of conscience, the means that the Church has always recommended to orient one’s life in light of the relationship with the Lord, should include a new dimension, considering not only how one has lived communion with God, with others and with oneself, but also with all creatures and with nature.
The full text of the encyclical in English can be consulted at:
|Press conference for the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato si'|
Vatican City, 18 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the New Synod Hall Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, introduced Pope Francis' Encyclical “Laudato si'”, on care for our common home.
The cardinal welcomed the presenters of the document: the Metropolitan of Pergamon, John Zizioulas, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church, who spoke on theology and spirituality, the opening and closing themes of the encyclical; Professor John Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Institute for Climate Impact in Potsdam, Federal Republic of Germany, representing the field of natural sciences, with which the encyclical enters into profound dialogue, and who was recently appointed as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences; Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services and former dean of the Mendoza College of Business of the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A., representing the sectors of economy, finance, trade and commerce, whose responses to the great environmental challenges are crucial; and Valeria Martano, a teacher for 20 years in the outskirts of Rome and witness to human and environmental degradation, as well as to some examples of “best practice”, a sign of hope.
The speakers demonstrated that the Encyclical, from the very beginning, seeks to establish a dialogue with all, both individuals as well as the organisations and institutions that share the same concerns as the Pope, approached from different perspectives, in a global situation that renders them increasingly intertwined and complementary. “This type of dialogue was also employed as the method of preparation that the Holy Father embraced in the writing of the Encyclical”, said Cardinal Turkson. “He relied on a wide range of contributions. Some, in particular those from many Episcopal Conferences from all the continents, are mentioned. ... Others who participated in the various phases of this work … remain unnamed. The Lord knows well how to reward their generosity and dedication”.
The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of St Francis of Assisi: “Laudato si’ mi’ Signore” “Praise be to you, my Lord”. “The reference to St. Francis also indicates the attitude upon which the entire encyclical is based, that of prayerful contemplation, which invites us to look towards the 'poor one of Assisi” as a source of inspiration” and as the quintessential example of “care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically”.
Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon devoted a large part of his intervention to the ecumenism in “Laudato si'”, and mentioned that in 1989 the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios published an encyclical addressed to all Christians and persons of good will warning of the seriousness of the ecological problem and its theological and spiritual implications, and in the same year he proposed the dedication of 1 September every year to prayer for the environment. This date, according to the Orthodox calendar, is the first day of the ecclesiastical year and now devoted to the environment. The Metropolitan proposed the adoption by all Christians of this day for prayer for the environment.
“I believe that the significance of the papal Encyclical Laudato si' is not limited to the subject of ecology as such. I see in it an important ecumenical dimension in that it brings the divided Christians before a common task which they must face together. We live at a time when fundamental existential problems overwhelm our traditional divisions and relativise them almost to the point of extinction. Look, for example, at what is happening today in the Middle East: do those who persecute the Christians ask them to which Church or Confession they belong? Christian unity in such cases is de facto realised by persecution and blood – an ecumenism of martyrdom”.
“The threat posed to us by the ecological crisis similarly bypasses or transcends our traditional divisions. The danger facing our common home, the planet on which we live, is described in the Encyclical in a way leaving no doubt about the existential risk we are confronted with. This risk is common to all of us regardless of our ecclesiastical or confessional identities. Equally common must be our effort to prevent the catastrophic consequences of the present situation. Pope Francis' Encyclical is a call to unity – unity in prayer for the environment, in the same Gospel of Creation, in the conversion of our hearts and our lifestyles to respect and love everyone and everything given to us by God”.
Professor John Schellnhuber went on to note that, from a technological perspective, the deployment of clean energy for all is feasible and is, in fact, “available in abundance. All we have to do is develop the means to properly harvest it and responsibly manage our consumption. While we have been working decade after decade on developing an incredibly expensive fusion reactor, we are already blessed with one that works perfectly well and is free to all of us: the Sun. Photovoltaics, wind and energy from biomass are ultimately all powered by sunlight. These new technologies could unfold potential in poor countries where no grid exists to distribute electricity produced by centralised power plants and where settlements may be too distantly located from one another to make such as system feasible. Just like the evolving use of mobile phones without the previous establishment of landlines, developing countries could leapfrog the fossil episode and enter the age of decentralised renewable energy production without detour”.
“The care for our planet therefore does not have to evolve into a tragedy of the commons. It may well turn into a story of great transformation in which the opportunity was seized to overcome profound inequalities. These disparities arose from the geological coincidence of regional fossil fuel distribution controlled by the few and the concomitant exploitation. Today, the implications of our actions and the pathways are clear. It is solely a question of what future we choose to believe in and to pursue”.
Carolyn Woo, the president of Catholic Relief Services and former dean of the Mendoza College of Business of the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A., as an expert in economics and finance, affirmed that investing in sustainability is “another win-win opportunity for business”, given that “numerous studies have provided estimates of astronomical costs associated with coastal disasters as water levels rise, drought and storms that devastate agricultural production, or loss in productivity due to growing days of extreme heat and health crises due to pollution. … Business can play a role to assist customers to become responsible consumers. Design and production that minimises waste by utilising renewable energy sources, improving efficiencies, enabling recycling, reclamation and re-use provides new opportunities for businesses as these enable consumers to do their part”.
“This Encyclical certainly affirms the important role that business will need to play, but Pope Francis is clear that we need partnerships between public and private sectors – as he puts it, 'politics and economics in dialogue for human fulfilment'. Since both public and private sectors have the same goal, and are integrated into the same interconnected web of life, they need to work together in harmony. Sometimes that means business being more accepting of stronger forms of regulation, especially in the financial sector. It also means business getting fully on board with the new Sustainable Development Goals and the need to take action to combat climate change. At the end of the day, business is a human enterprise and must strive for true human development and the common good”.
Finally, the teacher Valeria Martano talked about urban ecology, endangered by pollution, inadequate services and generalised individualism, as a challenge for Christians. The quality of life in the suburbs is poor, she emphasised: “there is a build-up of rage and a sense of exclusion. Too many people are denied the dignity of a house, such as the Roma community, and often we witness the destruction of precarious dwellings without the offer of an alternative. The elderly are 'expelled' from the social fabric and located in peripheral institutions. … We encounter violence in some quarters. But we can help live better if we reject this resignation to individualism. … For years, with the Sant'Egidio Community, we have worked to save spaces from pollution. … Starting with the weakest – children, the elderly, the disabled – we reconstruct a human fabric. … Around the weak, it is possible to renew the face of the suburbs, discovering energies that renew human ecology”.
“The Encyclical invites us to put into practice the common good”, she concluded. “The city and the environment are our common home. We often live according to human itineraries: fragmented and contradictory. Each person tries to save himself, in his own corner. Everyone follows his own interest. But there is a 'community salvation' that starts from the inclusion of the weak, a valuable resource for an integral ecology”.
|The Pope continues his visits to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia|
Vatican City, 18 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father visited the dicasteries of the Roman Curia located in Via della Conciliazione, 5.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 18 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Franco Piva of the diocese of Rimini to the College of Apostolic Pronotaries “de numero participantium”.
The shooting suspect Dylann Roof has been captured by Poline in North Carolina. Roof, age 21, is from Lexington, South Carolina. Witnesses explained Roof stood up and said he was there "to shoot black people". Roof spent an hour at the prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night before opening fire with a handgun. A picture of him on social media showed him wearing a jacket with flags of apartheid-era South Africa. Please Pray for the victims and their families.
BENEDICTINE ABBESS AND MYSTIC
Feast: June 18
|Born about 1129; d. 18 June, 1165.-Feast 18 June. She was born of an obscure family, entered the double monastery of Schönau in Nassau at the age of twelve, received the Benedictine habit, made her profession in 1147, and in 1157 was superioress of the nuns under the Abbot Hildelin. After her death she was buried in the abbey church of St. Florin. When her writings were published the name of saint was added. She was never formally canonized, but in 1584 her name was entered in the Roman Martyrology and has remained there.|
Given to works of piety from her youth, much afflicted with bodily and mental suffering, a zealous observer of the Rule of St. Benedict and of the regulation of her convent, and devoted to practices of mortification, Elizabeth was favoured, from 1152, with ecstasies and visions of various kinds. These generally occurred on Sundays and Holy Days at Mass or Divine Office or after hearing or reading the lives of saints. Christ, His Blessed Mother, an angel, or the special saint of the day would appear to her and instruct her; or she would see quite realistic representations of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, or other scenes of the Old and New Testaments. What she saw and heard she put down on wax tablets. Her abbot, Hildelin, told her to relate these things to her brother Egbert (Eckebert), then priest at the church of Bonn. At first she hesitated fearing lest she be deceived or be looked upon as a deceiver; but she obeyed. Egbert (who became a monk of Schönau in 1155 and succeeded Hildelin as second abbot) put everything in writing, later arranged the material at leisure, and then published all under his sister's name.
Thus came into existence
* three books of "Visions". Of these the first is written in language very simple and in unaffected style, so that it may easily pass as the work of Elizabeth. The other two are more elaborate and replete with theological terminology, so that they show more of the work of Egbert than of Elizabeth.
* "Liber viarum Dei". This seems to be an imitation of the "Scivias" (scire vias Domini) of St. Hildegarde of Bingen, her friend and correspondent. It contains admonitions to all classes of society, to the clergy and laity, to the married and unmarried. Here the influence of Egbert is very plain. She utters prophetic threats of judgment against priests who are unfaithful shepherds of the flock of Christ, against the avarice and worldliness of the monks who only wear the garb of poverty and self-denial, against the vices of the laity, and against bishops and superiors delinquent in their duty; she urges all to combat earnestly the heresy of the Cathari; she declares Victor IV, the antipope supported by Frederick against Alexander III, as the one chosen of God. All of this appears in Egbert's own writings.
* The revelation on the martyrdom of St. Ursula and her companions. This is full of fantastic exaggerations and anachronisms, but has become the foundation of the subsequent Ursula legends.
There is a great diversity of opinion in regard to her revelations. The Church has never passed sentence upon them nor even examined them. Elizabeth herself was convinced of their supernatural character, as she states in a letter to Hildegarde; her brother held the same opinion; Trithemius considers them genuine; Eusebius Amort (De revelationibus visionibus et apparitionibus privatis regulae tutae, etc., Augsburg, 1744) holds them to be nothing more than what Elizabeth's own imagination could produce, or illusions of the devil, since in some things they disagree with history and with other revelations (Acta SS., Oct, IX, 81). A complete edition of her writings was made by F.W.E. Roth (Brunn, 1884); translations appeared in Italian (Venice, 1859), French (Tournai, 1864), and in Icelandic (1226-1254).
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)
Matt Talbot was born on the 2nd May 1856 at 13, Aldborough Court in the Parish of St. Agatha, Dublin, Ireland. Matt was one of Dublin's poor he lived in a tenement, wore second hand cloths, died in a laneway and was buried in a pauper's grave. Coming from such a deprived background and with an alcoholic father and a family history of neglect and poverty, Matt found himself sucked into the culture of addiction and to the only choice of drug available to the poor of his day alcohol. Matt like so many others embraced alcohol as a means of escape from the misery and poverty of daily life.
Today we live in an age of addictions more sophisticated perhaps than those of Matt's day, addictions to substances such as alcohol and other drugs soft or hard, prescription or illegal, addictions to gambling, pornography and the internet, addictions to work, professional advancement, sex, money and power. All these have the ability to destroy our lives and like demons even our very souls as well.
Matt Talbot gradually came to this awareness and from the time of his conversion as a young man of 28, he spent the rest of his life living to a heroic extent the Christian virtues through prayer, spiritual reading, work and acts of charity. For three months, Talbot decided to make a general confession and begin to attend daily Mass. The first seven years after taking the starting were especially difficult. He avoided his former drinking places. He began to pray. He paid back people from whom he had borrowed or stolen money. He joined the Secular Franciscan Order with strict penance; he abstained from meat nine months a year. Matt read Scripture and the lives of the saints every day. He prayed the rosary daily. Matt sets before us a radical example which demonstrates that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. His life is a witness to the fact that people can by God's grace and their own self acceptance say no to that which leads to addiction or addictive behaviors.
Trinity Sunday the 7th June was the hottest day of a heat wave that had gripped the country since the previous week. Matt as usual had attended the 5.30am Mass in Gardiner St. and went to Holy Communion with the men of his Sodality at 8.00am Mass after Mass he returned to Rutland Street to have his usual meagre breakfast, one of his neighbours thought he looked poorly and advised him to take a little rest. Matt admitted that he was feeling a little weak but a half an hour later Matt came down again; he smiled at his neighbour, said he felt all right and was going on to the 10am Mass in Dominick Street. Dominican Church He always hurried to Mass. Around two sides of Mountjoy Square, along Gardiner Place, past Belvedere College, down Gardiner Row and along the North side of Parnell Square he was now just a few minutes away from his goal, the Dominican Church. Turning into Granby Lane, a short cut to the Church, he stumbled and collapsed. Passers by came to his aid people coming from an earlier Mass in Dominick called for a priest, a nurse and a Guard were on the scene. An eye witness account from Noel Carroll, who was a young boy at the time, recalls how his father who was manager of a chemist's shop at Bolton Street, would generally attend the 10am Mass on Sunday mornings in Dominick Street.
Prayer to Venerable Matt Talbot
Asking Matt's Help in the Presence of the Lord Gentle Matt, I turn to you in my present needs and ask for the help of your prayers. Trusting in you, I am confident your charitable and understanding heart will make my petitions your own. I believe that you are truly powerful in the presence of Divine Mercy. If it be for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the honour of Mary, our Mother and Queen and the deepening of my relationship with them, show that your goodness towards me, in my daily struggles, equals your influence with the Holy Spirit, who is hidden and at home in my Heart. Friend of pity, friend of power, hear, oh hear me in this hour, gentle Matt, please pray for me.
Edited from http://www.matttalbot.ie/