FOR RELEASE: June 18, 2015
CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, NETWORK released the following statement about Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s newly released encyclical on the environment:
Today, the NETWORK community is filled with gratitude and joy at the release of Pope Francis’s much anticipated encyclical Laudato Si’. The message of this encyclical is that every person is a member of one human family, and, as brothers and sisters who share a common home, we have a responsibility to care for one another and for the earth. The care for the common good is the central message of this encyclical. If the earth is to be protected, economic interests must not trump the common good. This means honoring the right of every person to share the world’s natural resources, to work and have stable employment, to obtain affordable housing, and to use effective, affordable, and safe public transportation.
Pope Francis directs his message to all people, but he especially calls on those in positions of power to exercise creative leadership in order to find integrative solutions to the immense ecological problems we are currently facing. Our “ecology” includes much more than our natural environment. It includes our social, economic, political, and cultural environments as well. An “integral ecology” recognizes and respects the interrelationship of society and nature. We must create social systems that mirror nature, where nothing is wasted and all is used for the common good.
Pope Francis affirms that all human beings are integrally related to one another and to all of creation. We must honor, respect, and protect this complex web of relationships, so that each person and the earth can thrive. The environment and our economy are inextricably connected. Our rampant consumerism and individualism have not only made us profoundly unhappy, but have also has weakened our social bonds and marginalized entire communities. They are destroying our environment and polluting our politics. We must also pay special attention to people living in poverty, for they are the ones who suffer the most from our unjust economic structures as well as from the pollution of our air, water, and soil.
Francis recognizes that the ecological crisis we now face cannot be addressed through simplistic or short-term solutions that continue to rely on the same market mentality. Technology alone is not the answer —instead, our hearts must be broken by what is happening to our common home. We must be converted from a “throwaway culture” and an economy of exclusion—the cause of our current crisis—to solidarity and care for the vulnerable, and always with a vision of the common good.
Pope Francis affirms the important and necessary role of government at all levels. We need political leaders who acknowledge the ecological crisis and who are willing to respond with creativity. In turn, citizens are responsible to pressure their leaders to set aside short-term thinking for the sake of long-term solutions. Legal frameworks, both national and international are required to ensure that nations fulfill their responsibility to protect their citizens and their natural resources. Every one of us has a role to play in transforming our social, economic, and political institutions.
NETWORK, together with Pope Francis, urges Congress and the Administration to heed the call laid out inLaudato Si’ to find a better politics, one that is not dominated by special interests or election cycles. We urge our members of Congress and the President to foster the culture of inclusion laid out by Pope Francis, one in which our leaders are strong and creative in their efforts to foster a new economy in which everyone has a seat at the table and none are excluded.
We are encouraged to hear the Pope’s message that we can heal our broken relationships to one another and to the earth. We ask you to join us in putting Pope Francis’s message into action!
Look for more reflections on the encyclical from NETWORK in the coming week.
NETWORK—a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace—educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation. Founded in 1971 by 47 Catholic sisters, NETWORK is supported by thousands of groups and individuals committed to working for social and economic justice.
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