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Guidance map for Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’

Ecojesuit is putting up this guidance map to the different parts of the environment encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato si’, for readers who wish to engage with this document in terms of human development perspectives but who may not share the same faith convictions.  We are opening up a way to engage with people who are in development professions and practitioners who reckon with sustainable development in their work activities.  We want to respond to the interest to read Laudato Si’ not in its entirety yet want to get to the substance that affects daily lives and work.

As such, we navigate through Laudato si’  with brief descriptions of specific chapters, and not necessarily following its numerical chronology, and relating some passages with other people’s comments on the topic tackled. We hope that you find this useful as we struggle to respond to the call for action in caring and praising our common home through an integral ecology.

00 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

This introductory section provides the context for the encyclical, including how previous papal documents have led to and contributed to this new statement. It summarises Pope Francis’ challenge to seek sustainable and integral development in order to protect our common home. A new dialogue on the future of the planet is needed. While he acknowledges the work of people to address environmental degradation and social injustice, he also recognises that this work must be shared by more people, for indeed these concerns affect us all. [Synopsis] [Full text of the overview]

01 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

In chapter 3, Pope Francis tries to ascertain the deepest causes of the ecological crisis, which include the technology, globalization, and modern anthropocentrism. He believes that technology gives those who possess knowledge on such technologies and have the economic resources to use them an impres­sive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world. As Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research points out, the connected technological advances have led to unprecedented disparities and to wasteful over-usage of resources. Pope Francis calls for a deeper look at labour and new biological technologies along with a broad, responsible, scientific, and social debate. [Synopsis] [Full text of chapter 3 (The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis)]

02 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

This first chapter is a brief summary of the state of the world today. It considers the following environmental challenges: pollution and climate change, water, and biodiversity. Apart from the environmental challenges, there is emphasis on the social condition of our world today. The declining quality of life and global inequality in today's world are evidence that economic growth and advancement have not led to an improvement in people’s lives. The chapter notes that environmental concerns have a social effect as well, and often, it is the poorest of the poor that will suffer the most. Therefore, not only is there a need to care for the environment, but also for the vulnerable sectors of society. [Synopsis] [Full text of chapter 1 (What is Happening to Our Common Home)]

03 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

This chapter highlights that nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves, or just simply a mere setting in which we live. Pope Francis believes that we are not facing two separate crises, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental. As Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace President Cardinal Peter Turkson believes, Pope Francis puts the concept of integral ecology at the centre of the encyclical as a paradigm to articulate the fundamental relationships of the person with God, with him/herself, with other human beings, with creation. Pope Francis believes that we are not facing two separate crises, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental. [Synopsis] [Full text of chapter 4 (Integral Ecology)]

04 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

Pope Francis spotlights in chapter 5 the need for a change of direction and other courses of action and outlines the major paths of dialogue which can help us escape the spiral of self-destruction that currently engulfs us. Pope Francis advocates dialogue on the environment in the international community, dialogue for new national and local policies, the politics and economy in dialogue for human fulfilment, and the religions in dialogue with science. According to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Pope Francis' Laudato si’ does not provide technical guidance; however, he highlights the ethical dimension of the climate problem and provides fundamental principles to be applied for solutions: the preferential option for the poor, inter- and intragenerational justice, common but differentiated responsibility, orientation to the common good. The Laudato si' argues for a global governance structure for the whole spectrum of the planetary commons. [Synopsis] [Full text of chapter 5 (Lines of Approach and Action)]

05 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

Pope Francis provides some more practical and pastoral guidance to caring for the environment and people. Indeed, institutions and systems must change, but at the most basic level, human beings—our lifestyle, our attitudes and values—must also change. Change must happen in terms of our lifestyles and particularly in our consumption. We as consumers have the power to influence political, social and economic systems, simply by our attitude towards consumption. A new education is needed to understand humanity’s covenant with the environment. Although there have been efforts at environmental education, this has been mostly about informing, rather than in instilling new habits, attitudes and values. A more practical environmental education is needed that will encourage responsibility and action. [Synopsis] [Full text of chapter 6 (Ecological Education and Spirituality)]

06 Laudato si' Ecojesuit

In this chapter, Pope Francis outlines the contribution of religious beliefs and faith traditions to an integral ecology and human development. Acknowledging the role of science and philosophy, the Encyclical also seeks to show how faith convictions can offer a foundation of care for the environment and care for the poor and most vulnerable sectors of society. As Christians we are reminded of our responsibility for creation and are called to reaffirm our commitment to care for the environment. [Synopsis] [Full text of chapter 2 (The Gospel of Creation)]

This post is also available in: Spanish

6 Responses to Guidance map for Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’

  1. Aminta Gomez on 13 September 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Excelente la manera de prsetar el estudio, sencillo, claro y conciso. Ahora solo toca leler, confrontar y actuar para ayudar a que las geeneracioens futuras disfruten de un mundo no acabado sino restaurado por el trabajo en comun. Gracias.

  2. Roberto Rivera SJ on 21 July 2015 at 7:31 am

    Thank you, this is is truly a great service! You have provided a very important teaching tool. Brief but substantial summaries.

    • IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana on 15 July 2016 at 1:07 am

      We was working to find a way to summarize Laudato Si to young people of our organisation (International movement of Catholic Student) when we discover this very interesting tools. Who is the author? Could we use this tool to make a small booklet for catholic student?
      Thank in advance to your answer.

      • sylvia on 15 July 2016 at 6:56 pm

        Greetings from Ecojesuit! We are happy to share this guidance map to Laudato si’ and we at Ecojesuit developed this. Please feel free to use it and best wishes! It would also be very helpful if you can share with Ecojesuit your experiences as an international movement of Catholic students 🙂

        Sylvia Miclat
        for Ecojesuit

  3. Francis Reese on 10 July 2015 at 3:46 am

    A helpful tool, I think.

  4. Francis Reese on 10 July 2015 at 3:45 am

    A tool to help profit from Laudato Si

    217 Brawley School Rd.

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