A special e-book contains forewords by Pope Francis and UN Secretary-General Guterres. Entitled “Laudato si ‘Reader. An Alliance of Care for Our Common Home”, the work presents reflections and reactions to the encyclical Laudato si’ around the world. From November 12, it will be available as a free download from the Dicastery website for Integral Human Development, which promoted its release through Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV).
By Gabriella Ceraso
The global message from Encyclical Laudato si ‘ continues to have a profound impact around the world and encourages everyone to take care of our common home through a dialogue that involves all people. Published six years ago, the encyclical has created discussion and concrete action among religious believers and denominations around the world. The momentum generated has given rise to surprising initiatives that create dialogue about our planet, the role of humanity and promote awareness of the need to respect ecosystems and biodiversity. A selection of these reflections and feedback from individuals and communities is gathered in the book “Laudato si ‘Reader. An Alliance of Care for Our Common Home”, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) in conjunction with the COP26 Summit. The text, in e-book format, will be available for free download from November 12 via the Dicastery for Integral Human Development website, which promoted its publication, from the LEV website and from the English section of Vatican News. The book contains contributions from environmental activists, ambassadors, church personalities, and representatives of various Christian denominations. The printed format will be available from www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va
In the preface written by Pope Francis, he regards it as “an appropriate end” to the special anniversary year ‘Laudato si’, which is celebrated from 24 May 2020 to 24 May 2021. He describes with expressions “the cries of the poor” and “Cry of the Earth “as emblematic consequences of our lack of care for the common home, exacerbated by the pandemic. At the same time, the interconnected crises that the Pope once again sees as an opportunity to change the way things are done and develop a “new form of universal solidarity based on brotherhood, love and mutual understanding: one that values people over profit, one who seeks new ways of understanding development and progress “.
Guterres: A ceasefire is needed in the war against nature
The pope’s words resonate with the UN’s deepest desires and reflect its commitments, notes Secretary-General António Guterres with his special introductory message to the book.
He recalled how the Pope’s encyclical came at an important time when UN member states were deep in negotiations to draw up agreements on sustainable development and climate change. Laudato si ‘made an important contribution to their deliberations, also pointing to the urgency of acting in the light of the environmental disasters facing the world today. Mr. Guterres writes: “This is the moment of truth. If we continue the old ways of inequality, injustice, hatred and ruthless domination of the Earth, we will face disaster. Just as we need a ceasefire on traditional battlefields, we must end our “war against nature … Creating peace with nature must be a priority for the 21st century. The recovery from the pandemic provides an opportunity to retreat from the abyss.”
The UN Secretary-General speaks of an “epic political test”, but also a “moral test”. There are then four pressing issues and commitments that Guterres is making humanity aware of: net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050; to help those already facing the serious consequences of climate change; alignment of global funding with the commitments of the Paris Agreement and the objectives of sustainable development; and finally curb the broader planetary emergency. “This is the moment of truth. If we continue,” Guterres writes, “with the old ways of inequality, injustice, hatred, and ruthless domination of the Earth, we will face disaster.
Global action and solidarity for a peaceful future
What is needed is global action and global solidarity to protect the environment and “the great ranks of the outcasts”. Guterres finally reiterates and puts forward his own Pope’s appeal in defense of the most vulnerable, for disarmament, the fight against poverty and the climate crisis. He reiterates the importance of trust in multilateralism, in its role as international organizations and diplomacy as instruments to support humanity, protect our common home and promote the common good. And remember encyclical Brothers, he concludes, “the world needs to strengthen its ties to global cooperation in order to build a future of peace for all.”