Laudato Si Action Platform 2021
On the 24th May this year the Vatican will invite the entire Catholic Church to embark on an audacious faith filled seven-year journey through the Laudato Si Action Platform. It is hoped that as many of us as possible will join this journey together and it is hoped that with every passing year the number of us on this journey will increase exponentially.
We have all heard about the melting ice at the North Pole and consequent rising sea levels around the world. We have all heard about the catastrophic decline in birds, animals, insects etc.
As Christians we believe that the whole earth is a miracle of God’s creation that is being held in being in every moment by God.
Pope Francis urges us, the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, to take urgent action to protect God’s creation. Faced with the injustice of climate change and the ecological crisis he urges us to do all we can to protect the poor and future generations. His encyclical letter Laudato Si is a compelling call to care for our common home, Earth….“
Very soon there will be a “Laudato Si week” 16-24 May. You can register at Laudato Si’ Week (laudatosiweek.org) The theme of the week is “for we know that things can change” (LS 13) Hopefully as many of us as possible from our parish can take part and be inspired and energized by what Catholics are doing all over the world.
At the end of the week on the 24th May, there will be the launch of the LAUDATO SI ACTION PLATFORM– which has its aim to mobilize the entire Catholic Church (every parish, every diocese, every school, etc … )around this issue of protecting our Mother Earth for future generations and that we all begin an audacious faith filled 7 year journey of ecological conversion and take action to change the world!
So why the Vatican is so concerned that we all take part in this journey?
As is well known the Pope, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, David Attenborough to name but a very few household names as well countless scientists, religious leaders and ordinary citizens have all warned us that we need to take urgent action in order to protect our Earth from a 6th Mass Extinction and dangerous global overheating which could lead to weather patterns spiralling dangerously out of control making large parts of the earth uninhabitable and leading to hundreds of millions of climate refugees.
As Christianswe believe that the whole earth is a miracle of God’s creation and that is being held in being in every moment by God.
This attitude of awe and wonder was evident in the title Pope Francis gave to his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si” (Praised be)and when he recalled St Francis who:“Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song” (LS 11)
The Pope, quoting St Francis, spoke with great tenderness about our earth, “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (LS 1)What the Pope shows us in Laudato Si is that integral ecology is integral to our faith.
The Pope also wrote these heart-breaking words “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor, she “groans in travail”. We have forgotten that are ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (LS 2)
With these words ringing in our ears, six years on after Laudato Si was first published, the Pope, through the Vatican Dicastery of Human Development, is inviting us to act now and embark on this seven-year journey through the Laudato Si Action Platform.Pope Francis has invited us “Let us Dream” * and the LSAP is a visible form of that dream.
For an excellent 20 minuteintroduction by Fr Josh Kureethadaminto what it is all about see this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIU7C7V81qg (39 minutes in)
What follows is a simple explanation of what the writer of this article knows so far of the Laudato Si Action Platform, as religious congregations have already had some preliminary meetings.
Seven parts of the Church are named where we can embark on this journey to total sustainability, in the spirit of Laudato Si, towards integral ecology.
- Parishes & Dioceses
- Education – Schools, Universities etc
- Hospitals / Health Care Centres
- Economy – businesses/cooperatives/farms
- Organizations – NGOs, movements, groups, foundations, communication centres etc
- Religious Orders
It is hoped that each part of the Church will make public commitments to the seven Laudato Si goals which are:
How to concretely put into practice these seven goals? Obviously, each group is best placed to decide that. Below are a few very simple examples many of which are gleaned from LaudatoSi.org – Laudato Si’ Goals
Response to the Cry of the Earth
Eg Reducing our carbon footprint, changing to a renewable energy supplier …
Response to the Cry of the Poor
Eg Responding to the poor in our society, refugees, people who are trafficked, indigenous peoples across the world
Ecological economicsEg Divestment from fossil fuels, Fair Trade, what are the economic activities that harm the environment?…
Adoption of Simple Lifestyle
Eg avoid single use plastic, adopt a more plant-based diet and reduce meat consumption, greater use of public transport ….
Eg Re-think and re-design educational curricula to create ecological awareness and action ….
Eg Rediscover our ancient spiritual vision of God’s creation, that God is in all things and holding all in being, not just humans. Greater contact with the natural world, praying outside, ecological catechesis, retreats ….
Community Involvement and Participatory Action
Eg Action to protect creation at local, national and international levels, advocacy campaigning ….
When planning how we will do this we are encouraged to use SMART goals, that is:
SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, TIME-BOUND
The goal of this mobilization of the entire Catholic Church is to create the “critical mass” needed for radical societal transformation which is what is needed in order to protect our planet for future generations. Social scientists tell us that this critical mass is reached with just 3.5% of the population. For society to change 21% to 25% of the population is needed but that will happen once the critical mass is reached.
We know from history radical social change has started from below (we may think of Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa or the Suffragettes). It is the hope that that in this issue of our climate and ecological emergency, that the Pope, the entire Catholic Church and working together with others, that we may achieve the radical global societal transformation that is needed.
Everyone is needed for this journey, as Greta Thunberg has said “Somebody needs to do something and I am somebody”
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? ….. “Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.” (LS 160)
* “Let us Dream” Pope Francis
Diagrams from LaudatoSi.org – Laudato Si’ Goals