June 21, 2015 at 3:48 pm #4364
Dear DTJN Community,
I am deeply touched by the way the Encyclical grounds Action inside of love and Communion, rather than a Subject/Object relationship with the Earth . . . . There are many critiques, of course . . . God is still segregated from creation, the foundational context isn’t an evolving universe . . . but it’s a HUGE step forward in seeing Earth in her integrity, our complete dependence upon her, and making the point that Now is the Time for Action. What do you all think about it?
Here is a link to the Encyclical: https://dtnetwork.org/resource/laudato-si-papal-encyclical-on-climate-change/ And here’s a link to resources for the Encyclical: https://dtnetwork.org/resource/resources-for-papal-encyclical-laudato-si/
I quote here these words from 11 and 12 that so moved me:
11. Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. 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, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”. His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.
12. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.
What parts touched you? What Actions do you see coming out of the Encyclical?
June 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm #4365
I agree with you, Jennifer. I think it’s a stunning and beautiful document that incorporates every aspect of Earth care and insists on the interconnections. It is grounded firmly in awe of creation and the realization that religion, morality, and ethics combine, even without Scripture, to make Earth care, so inextricably linked with care of the poor, imperative. Alas, the Universe Story is not his issue, and I was sorry — though not surprised — that he started with Genesis in his second chapter. However, there is one spot where he mentions how long humans have been here, or that we’re late-comers, or something similar, and when I write my Lent 2016 5-session resource, I shall recommend that wonderful resource in DTJN with the interactive ways of seeing just how new we are in the story! (I was sorry that he used “Father” almost exclusively, too, but rather than nit-pick a gorgeous document, I shall add a blog on my site about the enrichment one gets from Neil Douglas-Klotz’s Aramaic translation of Our Father and other phrases in that prayer in Prayers of the Cosmos.) It seems obvious that those complaining about his writing this have not read it all, first because they are saying exactly what they said before its release and second because they invariably speak about issues (climate change, economy) that cannot be isolated from the whole document. Here’s another place where Thomas Berry’s words apply: Nothing is itself without everything else! I pray the document is a game-changer for individuals everywhere and especially decision-makers in Paris and those whose “conversion” to care for our common home might make the biggest difference.
June 22, 2015 at 12:02 pm #4370
Dear Jennifer and Community,
I did a content analysis of the encyclical and the Pope uses the word “lifestyle” 22 times and the word “simplicity” 2 times. In addition, several weeks ago, when addressing more than 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square during his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis called for “. . . a Church that practices a 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.” So, I’m ready to send 10 copies or so of my book, “Voluntary Simplicity” to key members of the church and related communities (perhaps in the United Nations) to support the Pope in this courageous call for new ways of living. FYI: Here’s a link to the first chapter in the new edition of my book which is titled, “Cool Lifestyle for a Hot Planet”: http://duaneelgin.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/VOLUNTARY-SIMPLICITY-Chapter-One.pdf I welcome any suggestions for strategic persons who might welcome receiving a copy of this book.
June 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm #4371
As I’ve been reading the document, I keep thinking about Thomas and Ewert Cousins, how they would feel so pleased, how they are smiling now. The language in the encyclical — The Technocratic Paradigm is the Technozoic Vision to me; the reference to Teilhard (pg 61), the beautiful way he talks about affection for the family of living things (Earth Community), how he repeated EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED so many times (has anyone counted?) — made me feel so at home, that Thomas’ work was heard. When he mentions God as Father, I tried to think about that — a Father requires a Female counterpart to generate, but since the world is created from nothing, perhaps it’s just as appropriate as saying the Theotokos (Mother of God) is a Virgin. The fact that he brings in human life and its dignity as part of his Integral Ecology — and his critique of the economic system — is so enveloping. I would like to use this as part of my slide presentation, “Picturing the Ecological Age.” The quotes about the intrinsic value of other creatures and that if they go extinct, they will no longer be able to give glory to God really touched me. As part of my consulting work, I’m going to create a program for Catholic Schools where I will talk about the Encyclical and Thomas Berry’s work and facilitate imagining and implementing solutions for their homes, school, community.
An artist colleague was doing an installation this weekend challenging eminent domain with the Visual Artist Rights Act by creating an art piece on the land that would be taken over to put in a gas pipeline right near Indian Point nuclear facility. What came to mind is, “It’s God’s art.” And lo and behold, there was the phrase, “Nature is nothing other than a kind of art, namely God’s art. . . .”
I’m so excited about this document. This Pope has a greater platform than any other human being and I believe we could be at the threshold of a new direction for humanity, what we all have envisioned for so long. I’m so glad to have a chance to participate in the Great Work with this new document as an aid.
It is stated somewhere that “we are not the Earth” — but that we derive our being from it (I’m paraphrasing)? Can anyone tell me where that is? This is different from humans are the Earth’s self-reflexive awareness. I’d like to hear a discussion about that!
I still have some pages of the Encyclical to go. I’m bringing it to the hospital now, as I have to go to urgent care (a precautionary measure). I’ll look forward to reading new and continued comments while I’m there.
June 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm #4373
Terri: Thanks for your comment re the Encyclical — “It is grounded firmly in awe of creation and the realization that religion, morality, and ethics combine, even without Scripture, to make Earth care, so inextricably linked with care of the poor, imperative.” Yes indeed, to ground care inside of AWE makes ALL the difference . . . humility . . . see humans in their proper frame and context.
Angela: You said, “I’m going to create a program for Catholic Schools where I will talk about the Encyclical and Thomas Berry’s work and facilitate imagining and implementing solutions for their homes, school, community.” This sounds fantastic . . . integrating both is a logical and very natural next step. Thanks so much for saying that.
I couldn’t agree with you more Angela in the way you said, “I’m so excited about this document. This Pope has a greater platform than any other human being and I believe we could be at the threshold of a new direction for humanity, what we all have envisioned for so long. I’m so glad to have a chance to participate in the Great Work with this new document as an aid.”
How are you? I hope you’re appointment yesterday went well.
June 23, 2015 at 5:42 pm #4374
Also Duane, thanks for YOUR generous offer to send top Church officials copies of your book on Voluntary Simplicity. You might send to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here’s the link: http://usccb.org/
Also, LCWR, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious: https://lcwr.org/
Since you’re in California, a good start would be Catholic religious there. Many of the sisters already know about, and LOVE, your work Duane. Making sure it gets into the hands of priests and bishops would be wonderful.
June 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm #4375
Angela: Thank you for this eloquent and beautiful response to the Encyclical of Pope Francis and the writings of Teilhard de Chardin!
Jennifer: Thank you for your helpful referrals to these key Catholic organizations!
June 23, 2015 at 10:44 pm #4376
Thanks for your comments, Duane. I brought your book The Living Universe to the hospital with me, along with the PDF of the Papal Encyclical! Your book is a profound study, one which has made a big difference in my life. I’ve also assigned Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future in my class “Eco-spirituality & Action” and feature Voluntary Simplicity in my slide presentation, Picturing the Ecological Age.
Jennifer, an author from the Huffington Post Religion blog agrees, “Laudato Si’ is absolutely stunning in sweep, depth, and wisdom. It is exactly the right document, at the right moment, by the right person.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-pruett/francis-momentous-encycli_b_7620554.html
Hi Terri, It’s good to hear from you again! I appreciate this dialogue and hope we will continue.
June 24, 2015 at 12:26 pm #4377
Dear Angela. Thank you for your kind comments regarding The Living Universe and other writing! This was an unexpected and wonderful affirmation of a lifetime of work. I hope all goes well with your hospital visit. Blessings for your journey!
June 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm #4378(Thanks to all so far! Jennifer asked me to add a bit that I sent her in an email. The bit grew!) I have spent time reading and listening to the nay-sayers in hopes of getting clues about what might be the way in. I know from experience that the most effective is treating each person and each complaint with respect, to listen with empathy rather than to scoff or to rebut complaints. For some, the issues focus on fossil fuels, capitalism, fear of government intervention, and resenting the parts that show everything is not just fine as it is. (It’s working for them!) For exceptionally conservative Catholics, there doesn’t seem to be a word they don’t bristle at.In all cases, I suspect the underlying issue is how people identify themselves in relation to creation, others, and “God.” Pope Francis makes it clear, repeatedly, how everything is interconnected and we are part of the whole and thus responsible for it all. Missing that, readers just fall back on what they believed about climate change, etc., last year. But changing self-image and worldview can be a challenging journey! For those of us already agreeing with the document, maybe our call is to send positive energy/ prayer that hearts will open. (My heart is open to your replies!)
June 24, 2015 at 12:35 pm #4379
Thanks, Terri– this is a good point. If you’ve identified yourself as apart from nature (and your fellow man), why would you want to open up that can of worms? I agree prayer, as well as action, is needed to open our hearts and all hearts. This is a good article I found on the subject which I think adds a helpful perspective:
How Pope Encyclical Could Affect More Than Just Catholics:
“ ‘The pope’s encyclical can only make a lasting impact if pastors commit to addressing the environment from the pulpit more frequently, and if faith-based environmental groups capitalize on press coverage to teach more believers about their work,’ the Rev. Sauder said.”
June 24, 2015 at 6:27 pm #4380Orla HazraParticipant
Thank you very much Jennifer for starting this discussion and for the insights so far from our group Angela, Teri, and Duane. Duane, can I take a copy of the book to India? I can share it with the head of the Jesuit Education Association who is most appreciative of all of this and was just recently in Rome. The students loved the documents you shared with me before and I will use them again in the next course I am teaching in August when I go back again.
I also am so relieved the document is finally out. Many people I met in a few countries were waiting to do anything until the encyclical was out so as not to rock boats! Because it linked the social justice and ecological issues togethertime after time after time, hopefully it will heal divisions and superstitions within various communities dedicated to each -either social justice or ecology. I am sure it was not an easy document to put together but Pope Francis managed a good one!
I was delighted to see the term Ecological Conversion since that is what the fifth chapter of my thesis (download it from our resource list) described when I was tracing the narratives patterns of people awakening as a result of the fourfold wisdom conversation of science, religion, women and indigenous peoples. I have not used the term ‘conversion’ because its fundamental meaning has been lost through time- but now it is being retrieved and given renewed meaning……
Although Pope Francis is addressing all people in a homily, a call to action, his therapeutic language is from the Catholic tradition. Other traditions from across Earth can add in the therapeutic language from their wisdom banks and address their own communities. Although, as Angela noted, he repeated we were related, interrelated, he did not “show how” and that is the beauty of the academic languages those of us in the deep time journey use to tell the tale of our co-emergence in our interrelated cosmogenesis. He addressed cosmology stating “the same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty” (175). Although ‘the west’ is always associated with patterns of consumption causing our problems I was glad to see that in (172) he called on ‘poor countries’ to “acknowledge the scandalous level of consumption in some priveledged sectors of their population and to combat corruption more effectively”….In India this is a huge problem…and often it is the same people of privilege pointing the fingers at ‘the west’.
As I said earlier about words……in some parts he was able to give new definitions to another word, the moribund language of sin ….in one place he described it as being a sense of separation or turning away- but in other places he places it on the deed of destruction…as if to add another ‘sin’ to the 7 deadly sins we already have in Church history. Interestingly, these 7 sins of consumption have now been incorporated into the medical field/addictions…..Ecopsychology is a corrective currently in place for that development—Still it is nice to see the Christian faith being renewed by integral understanding….that is fundamental to any ‘religious’ understanding across Earth since ‘religare’ means ‘bound’.
He also used the term education- that we had a problem of education and that education also was shown to be happening outside the classroom…in families, work and everywhere. I have always linked cosmology to education…a process that happens through the generations in four educational forms…family, school, work and recreation. Then he goes back to education as pedagogy (unfortunately pedagogy has overtaken the term education and schools have been given the responsibility for teaching nearly everything now …a lot of stuff that used to happen in families). Starting in #209 the document points to the importance of addressing our cultural myths and that current forms of environmental education ‘fails to instill good habits’. The reason for this is that a lot of environmental education does not include the story behind how ‘the environment/humanity’ came to be…..until folks recognize they are integral- that they ‘understand’- good habits will not be practiced. Cosmology has two sides…understanding and practice.
Those of us in the deep time journey can offer a corrective to these shallow environmental education courses. I hope curriculum designers will choose to supplement what they are already doing with what we can offer so our communities are ‘personally transformed to respond’…..grab Duanes book and begin to live lives of meaning!
He also honored the wisdom of indigenous peoples, wonder and acknowledged the Earth Charter.
I plan to use the document as a resource in the environment course I am teaching in August. In India there are a variety of faith traditions in each class so students will be able to supplement what they read of the Catholic tradition with their own that will be a great learning for me.
June 24, 2015 at 6:42 pm #4381
Hi Orla. I would be delighted to have you take a copy of “Voluntary Simplicity” to India and share it with others. Are you someplace in the U.S. where I could send it?
Also, as I mentioned above, I’m happy to share widely an important chapter in the updated edition: here is a link to the first chapter titled, “Cool Lifestyle for a Hot Planet”: http://duaneelgin.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/VOLUNTARY-SIMPLICITY-Chapter-One.pdf
Please feel free to use any of the other materials on my website with your students. See: http://www.DuaneElgin.com
June 25, 2015 at 9:01 pm #4396
<p>Lots of wealth in recent replies! Duane, how super-kind of you to offer us your wonderful Chapter One! I have greatly enjoyed it and gotten many good ideas. It’s an intriguing topic for those of us who vowed Poverty — a word we got saddled with and now try to bring into the 21st century. Your insights will benefit many (obviously way more than just religious)! I’m looking forward to reading your Living Universe!</p><p>Orla, always inspiring to know what you are doing! You alert me that I have not downloaded your fifth chapter, which I shall definitely do asap. I also appreciate your insights about education and that it’s not just a matter for schools (even though you do so much great work there!).</p><p>That said, I want to clarify, Angela, that I am fully involved in, and strongly believe in, action/education on many levels. My comment about sending positive energy related to discussing the Encyclical with people who passionately oppose its contents. It’s challenging to keep calm about things we are passionate about, but minus that, both sides can dig their heels in and negative energy grows. Until those hearts are won, reverse action can result — e.g., the people who dreamed up cars that spewed smog to blast when they passed hybrids or saw people caring for Earth. I know someone who deliberately leaves all the lights on “just to show them”! As for parish education, I arranged with my pastor that I would send him quotes from the document that can be inserted into the bulletins, and I also send sample Prayers of the Faithful to add in each week’s list. We will encourage all parishioners to read the whole thing and have started giving homilies about it. Our parish fund-raiser will be green even though it means losing money that could have been made selling (ugh!) plastic water bottles. We’ll have water stations available, and info on the problems with the bottles. Next Lent my parish will offer my 5-session free resource (Lenten Reflections on Laudato Si’) for prayer groups. Since I’m free to include “FYI” bits as I wish, I am including Universe Story information which I totally agree is basic.</p>
June 25, 2015 at 11:50 pm #4397
Terri– I’m pleased to hear the first chapter of the updated Voluntary Simplicity is helpful. I want to recommend another resource: a website called “Choosing Voluntary Simplicity.” Here is an important distinction made by the creator of the website, Shirley:
- Simple living results in a better LIFE.
- Voluntary simplicity results in a better life… but also a better YOU.
June 26, 2015 at 8:52 am #4398Michael DowdMember
I sincerely apologize for not entering this conversation (and others in the DTJN) more fully. I’m on a writing retreat this summer in Ludington, Michigan and am behind schedule, with a hard deadline in August, trying to complete my new book.
Bottom line: I love the Pope’s Encyclical. He’s wrong on population, of course (see William R. Catton’s book, “Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change”, which Connie and I both now hold as the single most important book in print…truly!), but, other than that, the Encyclical is timely, prophetic, and grounded in our best evidential understanding of the nature of Reality and how we must learn — rather rapidly — to live in right relationship to Reality, if we wish to avoid condemning our children and grandchildren (and countless other species) to hell and high water.
I hope and pray that this Encyclical can make a huge difference. It deserves to, IMHO.
Together for the future,
June 27, 2015 at 4:29 pm #4410
Thanks, Duane! I just checked Shirley’s site and found it beautiful as well as wise. I appreciate what she wrote about GMOs, having just read Jane Brody’s piece in the NYT assuring readers that GMOs were fine and avoiding them was foolish . . . .
PS. I am looking forward to reading The Living Universe next month and catching up with so many who appreciate it!
July 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm #4437Mike BellParticipant
I live in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. For a number of years some friends and I have been fighting fossil fuel developments–coal mines, pipelines and huge fuel tankers down our coast . The need, of course, is to explain the link between fossil fuel projects and climate change. But it is often a hard sell. When we engage in public education on this issue we are often seen as “doomers.” We have desperately needed a way of explaining the problems and, at the same time, present positive actions and alternatives.
Laudato Si is the encyclical we have been waiting for. It does the best job I’ve seen of explaining the issues, the causes and potential alternatives. It is also the best example at the highest level of , what Thomas Berry has called a functional cosmology based upon the New Cosmology and an Earth Spirituality. . I think the key to its success is Francis’ recognition of he need for a new consciousness and its application. The following link discusses my take on this new consciousness and its applications.
July 1, 2015 at 4:35 pm #4439
To Everyone in this discussion,
To easily get to the conversation on the DTJN site, click on the link at the bottom of email notifications re new posts and it will take you to the whole conversation. Just in case the link to Mike’s paper in the last email didn’t work, click on the link at the bottom of the post (in your email) and it will take to the forum where there’s a link that will work. His paper is also on the Home Page, lower left — Pope Francis Laudato Si and the New Consciousness.
To receive emails when people add posts, be sure to click the little box at the bottom of the Forum . . . now on two pages . . .
Thanks for your post and paper Mike!!
August 1, 2015 at 8:42 pm #4622
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.
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