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Duane Elgin

Pope Francis is a strong advocate for simplicity of living and breath of fresh air in the spiritual world. In June, he addressed more than 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square during the weekly General Audience and he called for a church that “. . . practices voluntary simplicity in her own life—in her institutions, in the lifestyle of her members—to break down walls of separation, especially those that separate us from the poor.”  


In response (and with the help of Jennifer and others on this list), I’ve now sent out 118 copies of Voluntary Simplicity to a very carefully developed network of individuals who could help create a more robust level of public conversation and consciousness about this theme. As a note of interest, if we exclude the “men only” group of Cardinals, Bishops, etc., then my mailing went to slightly more women than men!  The primary mailing was to people in groups such as:


  • Conference of Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops 
  • Covenant Catholic Climate 
  • Council of Catholic Women 
  • Catholic Climate Ambassadors
  • Green Faith 
  • In addition, books were sent to engaged Buddhists, Sikh’s, Islamic’s, and non-Catholic Christians 


Early feedback has been very positive. For example, here is a comment from the respected Fr. Richard Rohr: “How kind of you!  From what I have already read, the book [Voluntary Simplicity] is really excellent–and surely much needed.  I will be highlighting Pope Francis’ recent encyclical letter Laudato Si in my teaching at our upcoming Francis Factor conference, and might just quote your book too. If only we Religious Orders had taken that more positive phrase “Voluntary Simplicity” instead of our almost always misunderstood “Vow of Poverty” we could have helped build this attitude much more quickly.