Our Mother Earth

Published by the Vatican Library, “Our Mother Earth” (Nostra Madre Terra in Italian) brings together the Pope’s speeches on the protection of creation. The text comes out today in Italy and France today, with a preface by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

With the ambition to propose a “Christian reading on the challenge of the environment”, the Pope returns there on the “everything is bound” of Laudato Si. In this compilation of texts, he affirms that the ecological crisis that we live is primarily an effect of a sick look on ourselves, on others, on the world, on passing time ; a sick look “which does not make us perceive everything as a gift offered so that we discover ourselves loved”.

If acting for the protection of the environment and the control of climate change is necessary, the Pope considers that this is not enough : ecology must be an ecology of man and of the whole of creation, not only of one part of it (this is what Catholics call “integral” ecology). Just as, during a serious illness, drugs are not enough, but we must look at the patient and understand the causes that led to the disease, so must the crisis of our time be confronted in its roots. The proposed path is then to rethink our future from relationships : the men and women of our time have a great thirst for authenticity, to sincerely review their criteria for life, to focus on what is valuable, by restructuring their existence and their culture. By the way, it seems to me that it can cause a loss of commitment in many companies.

Extending his thought to the political field ( it is not on Aristote that we will forget that everything is political ! ), the Pope insists on one of the great risks facing the serious threat to life on the planet caused by the ecological crisis, that which would consist of not reading this phenomenon as one of the many aspects of a wider global crisis. This crisis calls for a global vision and approach, which is first and foremost a spiritual renaissance in the noblest sense of the term.

Everything is connected ! This is obviously not going to please the most secular among us, but it is interesting to note that the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations does not say anything else through its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which go well beyond simple climate issues. Indeed, they cover the full range of development issues in all countries, not just climate, but also biodiversity, energy, water, poverty, gender equality, economic prosperity, and even more : peace, agriculture, education too.

“Huge program !” someone would have said …


Iconography : thistles in front of the sea, Baie de Somme, September 9, 2018 (personal collection)


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