Now our concern for the human community can only be fulfilled by a concern for the integrity of the human world.
— Thomas Berry

I pledge allegiance
to the Earth and
to the flora, fauna,
and human life
that it supports,
one planet indivisible,
with safe air,
water and soil,
economic justice,
equal rights,
and peace for all.

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In Chapter 3 of Laudato Si’, The Human Roots of the Ethical Crisis, Pope Francis states that “we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships.” (#119)  He is reiterating here one of his major themes:  “Everything is connected.  Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings...." (#91)

In other words, “Today…we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”(#49)  Here Pope Francis gives recognition to Leonardo Boff’s groundbreaking work, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, a principal inspiration for Laudato Si’.  Thus, in this chapter Pope Francis moves beyond a solely scientific outlook, and proclaims like the biblical prophets of old (but with less vitriol), “We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning, and social implications of technological and economic growth.” (#109)

Voicing what is not PC (i.e. politically correct), and what nobody (including some Catholic faithful) wants to hear, he proclaims that “environmental deterioration, and human and ethical deterioration, are closely linked.” (#56)  Furthermore, “Today, in a word, ‘the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle’” (# 206) i.e. to produce and consume less.

It is at this point that what happened to Jesus, happened to Pope Francis - as many commentators said, “This is a hard saying.” Or, as the Jerusalem Bible puts it, “This is intolerable language.” (Jn. 6:59)

EXTRA CREDIT: How many trees does it take to make 600 weekly St. Bridget bulletins for 1 year?

a) 10     b) 30     c) 52     d) 70