The Transforming Power of an Encyclical


Laudato si' is not an ecological encyclical, but a social encyclical in which the Pope has masterfully united the cry of the poor with the cry of the earth

In May 2015 the encyclical Laudato si' was published and its media impact at a high level was immediate. Not everyone agreed with its content and some even claimed that it was better received outside the Church than inside. The truth is that this encyclical has not left anyone indifferent and has been the one that has had the most repercussions up to now. After five years it must be said that little by little, like a gentle rain, it has penetrated society and also the Church, and many of its concepts have been assumed without any difficulty. Thus, the terms ecological conversion, care of the common house, integral ecology... are part of the cultural heritage of many people.

On the fifth anniversary of his publication, Francis called on everyone to celebrate the Laudato Si' Year. This year began on May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians. During this year it is understood that in both lay and religious institutions a process of ecological conversion is initiated. For this purpose, in a document published by the Dicasterio para la Promoción del Desarrollo Humanos Integral, a call is made for universities, diocesan hospitals, parishes, schools, religious congregations... to initiate a process and that this process be measurable in an objective way through the Laudato Si' Goals that should be put in connection as much as possible, with the Sustainable Development Goals.

All this, said in a quick way, because of the need to adjust to the requested extension, may sound strange to those who are not yet within the dynamics of the Year of Laudacy and the pretensions of this encyclical. But it is of great importance that both civil society and the Church have united in many institutions, both lay and confessional, not only Catholic, to make a common journey to improve the common house that groans because of the damage we have inflicted on it. This social encyclical in which the Pope has been able to masterfully unite the cry of the poor with the cry of the earth, "because we are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental" the Pope says in the encyclical.

Therefore, in the midst of the Laudato Si' Year all good people should rejoice that a movement is taking place, increasingly growing around this encyclical that brings together people and institutions trying to improve the planet together, so that all citizens of the world can live a healthier and safer life for themselves, their families and future generations.

Climate change is causing extreme weather events (droughts, floods, hurricanes...) to become more intense and frequent. This causes many millions of people a year to be forced to move in search of survival, as their crops are destroyed, year after year by these phenomena.

It is surprising that in the face of the suffering of so many people, it is a religious leader who has raised his voice so forcefully. Francis' important leadership abilities have made him a world reference and have made personal, collective and political attitudes that before seemed impossible to achieve on a massive scale, be realized by the convincing arguments he employs to carry them out.

Isabel Cuenca, General Secretary GCJP

Article published in the ABC of Seville