November 23, 2015
By Sister Áine O’Connor, Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the United Nations
Pope Francis: Pope Francis blesses people during a meeting on November 12. Credit: Daniel Ibaenz/CNA
People of faith, including Sisters of Mercy, have long been standing in solidarity with marginalized peoples and Earth and challenging unjust economic, political and social systems that cause poverty, violate human rights, and exploit and degrade Earth and our climate. But as an interconnected collective, these were issues and challenges you rarely heard mentioned from pulpits.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis affirms these as integral components of Catholic Social Teaching:
“If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out … The development of the Church’s social teaching represents such a synthesis with regard to social issues; this teaching is called to be enriched by taking up new challenges “(63).
For me one of the most important, and most challenging, aspects of Laudato Si’ is Pope Francis’ appeal that we “must acknowledge the human origins of the ecological crisis “(101). Our prevailing economic, political and social systems have significantly helped to create the grave and unjust global poverty, inequality, water and climate concerns of our day. To undo the widespread injustice in our world and pursue the common good, we must have frank conversations about these systems and their short-term goals, which are so often driven by power and profits. “We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technology and economic growth,” he writes (109). Read More