Today’s podcast is taken from our recent Faith Leader’s and Climate Change event where Dr Carmody Grey spoke about Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and human ecology.
Carmody explains that care for the environment has been a theme of Catholic Social teaching for a long time, and had been becoming more prominent even before Laudato Si. But the particular moment in recent Catholic history that most helpfully illuminates this happened in the second Vatican council.
Probably the single most famous sentence in the second Vatican council is the opening sentence of Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.” There should be no distinction between what matters for someone else and what matters for you.
Laudato Si is an extrapolation of that first sentence of Gaudium et Spes; it’s happening to the world, so it is happening to you. In Laudato Ci Pope Francis quotes Pope Benedict saying that the disfigurement of the earth is a disfigurement of our own bodies, and the importance of experiencing desertification, deforestation or pollution as a disfigurement of our own bodies. In other words, Pope Francis is encouraging us to turn the world’s pain into our own pain.
Pope Francis insists that the ecological crisis is primarily a moral and spiritual problem, and our reluctance to see that is a symptom of how serious the moral and spiritual problem is.
Dr Carmody Grey is Assistant Professor of Catholic Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University and works mainly in the areas of philosophical theology and theological ethics, with a focus on science, nature and the environment.
We will have more talks from the Faith Leaders and Climate Change forum on the blog soon. You can find them here on our blog or by subscribing to the LCI Podcast in apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.