October 4, 2023 – Pope Francis has released today the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, to address the climate crisis, a call to action for all people of good will.
Laudate Deum (praise God) follows the 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care Of Our Common Home, and offers further reflection and clear action points. It is composed of six chapters: 1. The Global Climate Crisis: reminding us all of the sound scientific analysis of the climate crisis and bringing our attention to the fact that we are approaching a critical point (LD17); 2. A Growing Technocratic Paradigm: in this chapter the Holy Father addresses political power and propaganda, as well as challenging the common understanding of what progress is, inviting us all to reflect on the true social and environmental costs of our current economic and technocratic model.This challenge includes shedding light on the need for intergenerational justice, as well as a powerful reflection on ethics and power; 3. The weakness of International Politics: here Pope Francis presents an analysis of multilateralism, old and new diplomacy as well as multipolarity with an invitation to establish global and effective rules that would allow the respect of human rights, social rights and the protection of our common home; 4. Climate Conferences: Progress and Failures: here Pope Francis presents a brief summary of the different COPs from the Paris Agreement to Sharm el Sheik, promises unfulfilled, standards to be upheld, greater ambition to be demonstrated; 5. What to Expect from COP28 in Dubai?: Pope Francis hopes that the conference this year can be a decisive turning point and underlines the risk of remaining trapped in the mindset of pasting and papering over cracks, while beneath the surface there is a continuing deterioration to which we continue to contribute” (LD57); 6. Spiritual Motivations: in this concluding chapter, the concept of “situated anthropocentrism” is introduced and we are reminded that human life is incomprehensible and unsustainable without other creatures. For “as part of the universe… all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect” (LD 67).
Here are the reactions from ELSiA’s Executive Committee members:
Josianne Gauthier, secretary general of CIDSE: “We cannot continue to hide from the reality and our shared responsibility towards ecological destruction. The violence towards the planet and towards the poor are both being fueled by an economic system that is unjust, where power is concentrated in the hands of the few and the poor are being fed “illusions of a world that is not built for them”.
Maria Nyman, secretary general of Caritas Europa: “Laudate Deum” comes at the right time and is rooted in the science of climate change. The Pope makes it clear that those who suffer the most from the consequences of the climate crisis are those who are the least responsible for it. “Laudate Deum” is also an important signal of confidence: change for the better is possible.”
Fr Manuel Barrios, secretary general of COMECE: “I echo the call to action of Pope Francis to join in this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home and to help make it more beautiful, because that commitment has to do with our personal dignity and highest values (LD 69). I believe Europe can play a leading role in finding effective solutions at upcoming international conferences such as COP28″.
Read the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum here
Watch the launch video here