The Encyclical of Pope Francis on the Environment with Commentary by Sean McDonagh
Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s historic encyclical on the environment, was issued in 2015. As the first encyclical devoted entirely to the environment and related social justice issues, it represented a watershed in the church’s engagement with such urgent challenges as climate change, environmental degradation, and the fate of the poor.
This volume joins the full text of Laudato Si’ with reflections by Sean McDonagh, one of the foremost Catholic proponents of ecological awareness. Aside from reviewing the history of Catholic teaching and the environment, he elaborates on several of the specific themes in the encyclical—climate change, biodiversity, water scarcity, the threats to the ocean, and the crisis of food. He concludes with prescriptions about what must be done to turn the pope’s vision into a program of effective action.
Each of us has a role to play. As Pope Francis observes, “All it takes is one good person to restore hope.”
Click here for a 10-page Study Guide to Laudato Si' prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Fr Sean McDonagh SSC is a Columban Missionary priest. He received a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the Catholic University in Washington DC in 1975. Previous works include To Care for the Earth (Chapman, 1985), Greening the Church (Chapman, 1990) Passion for the Earth (Chapman, 1995) and Greening the Christian Millennium (Dominican Publications, 1999).
Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a young man, he worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before entering the Jesuits. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979, was Argentina’s Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was appointed a Cardinal in 2001.
Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, Bergoglio was named his successor on 13 March. He chose the name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first non-European Pope in over 1200 years.
Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and faiths.