Catholicism and Climate Change Part 2 by Harry Creamer*

Laudato Si’: on care for our common home (St.Pauls Publications 2015)(Page number/Section number – refer to the original document.)

Pope Francis calls for a new approach to politics – ‘Politics must pay greater attention to foreseeing new conflicts and addressing the causes which can lead to them.  But powerful financial interests (‘the minority who wield economic and financial power’ (160/203)) prove most resistant to this effort’ (51/57).  Despite these reservations, he sets out an agenda for politics: ‘A strategy for real change… it is not enough to include a few superficial ecological considerations while failing to question the logic which underlies present-day culture’ (155/197).  ‘Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress’ (152/194).

The call to redefine our notion of progress includes – globalisation, consumerism, waste, things we can do as individuals, and more.  On the persistent ethos of growth, the Pope says: ‘… the idea of infinite or unlimited growth is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit’ (89/106).  ‘… in the midst of economic growth… talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses’ (152-3/194).

‘Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.  We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone’ (159/202).

‘The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which demands patience, self-discipline and generosity’ (158/201).

‘A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal’ (159/202).

Whether Catholic or not, it is now critical that we heed the Pope’s call.

*Harry Creamer was invited to comment on Laudato Si as a matter of importance to all Gippslanders. He is the President of Climate Change Australia –Hastings and can be contacted here.