Bishop Robert C. Morlino’s statement on the release of the encyclical Laudato Si
Thursday, Jun. 18, 2015 — 10:33 AM
The Catholic Herald – Diocesan Newspaper of the Diocese of Madison WI
Bishop Robert C. Morlino offers the following statement on the release of the encyclical, Laudato Si, by our Holy Father, Pope Francis:
With the release of today’s encyclical, Laudato Si (Praise be to you, my Lord – On Care for Our Common Home), our Holy Father, Pope Francis, offers the Church, and in fact the entire world, the opportunity to reflect on important truths of God and His creation, which we know, from its origin, is good. Gifted with the rest of the natural world, human beings have been given the serious obligation to care not only for the dignity of every other human, for the love of their Creator, but also to care for the rest of His creation as well. God has given us an awesome responsibility.
While I have not yet made my way through the entire encyclical, I’d like to offer a few reflections at this time, taken, admittedly, from the perspective of a pastor of souls and person of faith:
First, and probably most importantly, I would encourage everyone to take the time, and with an open mind and open heart, to read the encyclical for themselves. It is rather long and it won’t be an “easy read,” but don’t allow pundits or reporters, even ones you might trust, to tell you what the Pope’s letter is or isn’t about, or what it says. Read it, pray about it, and have honest discussions about what we can reasonably do to become better stewards of all of God’s creation. Make sure to keep God at the center of your reflections and discussions, and be vigilant to recognize when others, especially those doing so publicly on television or in print, try to separate it, even for a moment, from God. Just yesterday, at his general audience, the Pope implored women and men of good will to accept his letter with open hearts. This is important, because this is how the Holy Spirit can work in and through us. So, it is with an open heart that I will continue to read, study, reflect, and pray about this encyclical.
With that said, Pope Francis very clearly presents, in Laudato Si, that the ecology of human nature and the ecology of the rest of the natural world can never be separated, and that the first concern is for the ecology of the human body. When one respects authentic human ecology, they will respect the ecology of the rest of creation and when one does not respect human ecology, they will not respect that of the rest of creation — or at least will not have an authentic understanding of why all of creation is worthy of respect. This, however, isn’t going to get many headlines. The Pope makes a clear plea for our taking responsibility to act in accordance with God’s direction in Genesis, to “’till and keep’” the garden of the world . . . cultivating, ploughing or working, while . . . caring, protecting, overseeing, and preserving.” Ignoring this responsibility has repercussions for our “common house,” and it also hurts our relationship with God and our neighbor, especially the poorest among us.
The Holy Father challenges us, as he has from the beginning of his pontificate, to grow in holiness. In reaffirming core Catholic moral teaching, based on the direct link between human and the rest of natural ecology, he goes on to offer us his prudential judgments for actions we might take individually, in families and communities, as well as by the Church and as nations, to be better stewards of God’s precious gift of creation.
Through circulating this letter to the world, the Holy Father gives us an opportunity to share what we, as Christ’s Church, believe about God, the human person, and all of creation. We should welcome this opportunity and engage our family, friends, and communities on these important matters.
Always Catholic is located in the Diocese of Madison, WI and is in obedience to our Ordinary, His Excellency, Robert C. Morlino. We are not affiliated with the Diocese of Madison and all opinions are our own.