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Here's what the US bishops expect from the Pope's new encyclical

St. Louis, Mo., Jun 10, 2015 / 04:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News) - With Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology and the environment to be released next week, the U.S. bishops are reflecting on possible themes of the upcoming document.


“We can be sure that concern for the poor will be a central theme throughout this encyclical,” Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami said June 10. He suggested Catholics should approach ecological topics “with our hearts aimed to the glory of the Creator, and our eyes wide open to the need of our brothers and sisters, including those who come after us.”

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M. likewise reflected on the encyclical’s prospects for providing a global perspective that helps the poor.

“The Church has come to understand that the health of the global family is dependent on the health of its weakest members,” he said. “Poor nations need to develop in order to reduce poverty, but we must help them to follow a more sustainable path to economic development than the one we took.”

Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Sii,” will be published on June 18.

The two American bishops discussed the upcoming encyclical’s likely themes at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ general assembly in St. Louis. Archbishop Wenski chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, while Bishop Cantu chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the U.S. bishops’ conference president, introduced their presentation. He said that the U.S. bishops welcome the “tremendous opportunity” to help the faithful receive the encyclical in “a thoughtful and prayerful way” and to help “elevate the conversation” above ideological and partisan divides.

Archbishop Wenski said the U.S. bishops can help ensure that Catholics hear Pope Francis.

“Let us work to create space for people of good will to consider the Holy Father’s message. He has a voice that will transcend the partisanship that has characterized much of the debate on climate change.”

The Miami archbishop expected the encyclical to address concepts like “integral ecology,” which explains “our care for one another and for the environment are intimately related.”

He suggested that the Pope will criticize actions that “casually discard people and the gifts of the earth.”

Cooperation with God’s design applies both to people’s relationship to the natural world and to their relationships with one another, Archbishop Wenski explained. People should resist the “throwaway culture” in favor of a culture of “solidarity and encounter.”

Bishop Cantu said an integral approach to ecology links “the welfare of God’s people and God’s creation, of rich and poor, of our nation and the world.”

He expected the encyclical to offer a global perspective. He noted Pope Francis’ repeated calls to counter the “globalization of indifference” with global solidarity.

The encyclical could also reflect on the link between ecology, human security and health.

Bishop Cantu noted problems like the growing geographic range of tropical diseases, intensifying storms, and rising sea levels that threaten low-level countries and islands.

Poorly regulated mining operations, especially in Latin America, have had “calamitous” public health consequences including birth deformities and premature deaths due to environmental degradation.

These situations can increase violence and pressures to migrate northwards.

In Africa, climate shifts have also worsened drought and desertification, creating pressures that lead to violence, extremism and death.

“Drought in a place like Africa could very well result in the starvation of thousands, if not millions, of people,” Bishop Cantu said.

The bishop also noted the need to protect natural resources to feed humanity.

However, Bishop Cantu criticized what he said is a “false linkage” between ecological problems and population growth. He rejected aggressive population control efforts in developing countries and noted that some ecological problems, like massive greenhouse gas production, are mainly produced by a “small portion” of the world’s population in advanced countries.

He said the real issues in ecology are consumption and waste of resources and unsustainable practices.

Unsustainable practices mean “everyone will suffer from climate impact,” while renewable energy sources and sustainable technology will benefit everyone.

Although there is no advance copy of the encyclical, Archbishop Wenski suggested its outlines can be found in Catholicism’s “rich tradition of teaching about stewardship in creation, rooted in scripture.” He noted precedents in the writings of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

The archbishop said Catholics have a significant responsibility to ensure the care for creation while resisting a “culture of waste,” working to protect the poor and respecting the “sanctity and dignity of life.”

Archbishop Wenski compared the pollution of waterways to problems like “the pollution of young minds through pornography, or issues like the redefinition of marriage.” These all have effects on “human ecology,” he said.

For their part, the U.S. bishops have issued a statement on the environment in their 1991 statement “Renewing the Earth.” They also issued a climate change statement in 2001: “Global Climate Change, a Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.”

Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
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Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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