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Page 4 - Cross Roads E Edition

Page 4 September 13, 2015

Laudato Si


Rod Stearn

It seems like Pope Francis is moving pretty fast these days. Just this week he announced a canonical reform of annulment procedures. Not long ago he caused a stir with his en- cyclical, Laudato Si. That encyclical has been plagued by misunderstandings and distor- tions. For the last few months, I've been try- ing to address some of those. My first article covered some of those distortions. The second discussed what the pope actually said. To explain his message, Pope Francis used the idea of the Two Ways. This idea goes back to the Gospel. It is the opposition between the Way of Christ and the Way of the World. At times, the church has also referred to these two ways as the Way of Life and the Way of Death. There has always been opposition to the Gospel. As the world has changed, howev- er, the details of that opposition have also changed. It is the role of the church to di- agnose the current incarnation of the Way

Integral ecology: The modern world as seen through the eyes of the Gospel

of Death. That's what Pope Francis did in Laudato Si. Pope Francis gave a name to the current form of the Way of Death: the "technocrat- ic paradigm." This is his name for today's system of financial and economic power unguided by ethics and unchecked by regulation. This sys- tem has led to the oppression of the poor and vulnerable, and the destruction of the environment. As ever, the Way of Death has sown much evil in the world. Against the Way of Death, Pope Francis reminds us of the Way of Life. The solution to the world's problems is still the Gospel. Yet, the world changes, and so we must adapt our methods. We need a new ap- proach for new problems. That is what the pope is offering in Laudato Si. He calls it integral ecology." Integral ecology is a big idea, and I'm not going to do it justice. I can say that the me- dia has oversimpli- fied it at almost every turn. They have often missed the forest for the trees. So when they say that the pope is "pro-environment" or "anti-capitalist," they are partially cor- rect. They are also wrong. Pope Francis' views on the environ- ment and the economy are expressions of a larger worldview. That worldview (integral ecology) cannot be reduced to the pope's po- sitions on those issues. So what is integral ecology? It's the modern world seen through the eyes of the Gospel. That is why Pope Francis begins and ends Laudato Si with discussions of Scriptural ex- egesis and sacramental theology (and more). The media often sees these bits as spare parts, church-y" stuffthat serves as window dress- ing for the environmental message. They're wrong. The environmental message (and more) flow from the "church-y" stuff. The Bible shows how the pieces of life and creation fit together. The pope's mes- sage flows from the Bible. Therefore, he can show that care for the poor and stewardship of creation can never conflict. Any solution that sets them at odds is false. We cannot help the environment by op- pressing the poor. We cannot abort or con- tracept them away. Neither can we help the poor by pillaging the environment. In the end, that will prove a grievous harm to them both. Instead, we need a truly integrated ap- proach. Solutions must flow from the Gos- pel, and order all things to the Gospel. This approach should make right use of govern- ment regulation. It should also realize the importance of local solutions and recognize the proper links between local human cul- ture and local environmental ecosystems. We need an approach to economics and technology that flows from the Gospel. Pope Francis has offered such an approach in Laudato Si. He also offered a paradig- matic saint to express it: Saint Francis, the lover of the poor and the environment both. Sadly, I, too, have oversimplified the pope's message. Yet I hope these articles will inspire you to learn more. The Catholic Center will soon be putting out small group study booklets on Pope Francis' message. The first, focusing on "The Joy of the Gospel," will come out in time for Advent, and the sec- ond, focusing on Laudato Si, will come out in time for Lent. More information will be forthcoming soon. We hope you will con- sider using these booklets. Regardless, please consider learning more about Pope Francis' message. His words on the Way of Life hold great import for us all. n


The headline and story on flood relief in Eastern Kentucky used the abbrevia- tion FBMAC to identify the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission Center. That is incorrect. It should have been FBAMC." Cross Roads regrets the error and is happy to set the record straight.


A Not-So-Trivial Pursuit

@ What do the 3 knots in Bishop John's Franciscan cincture represent? @ What is the motto of the Society of Jesus ? @ What is the common name for the hood of a religious habit? @ Which Catholic order is known as the greatest promoter of the Rosary? @ What is the name for an auxiliary bishop with the right to succession? @ The "Mother of Good Counsel" scapular is promoted by which order? @ How many bishops are typically required to ordain a new bishop? @ What is the name of the white head dress word under the veil of a nun? Answers on page 11

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