Introduction

To Laudato si'

What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?

On 24 May 2015 Pope Francis signed Laudato Si’, the watershed encyclical letter that called world’s attention to the increasingly precarious state of our common home. Five years on the encyclical appears ever more relevant. The multiple “cracks in the planet that we inhabit” (LS, 163), from the melting ice caps in the Arctic to the raging wildfires in the Amazon, from extreme weather patterns around the world to unprecedented levels of loss of biodiversity that sustain the very fabric of life, are too evident and detrimental to be ignored any more. Pope Francis’ prophetic words continue to ring in our ears: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (LS, 160) The poor communities around the world are already the early and disproportionate victims of the current ecological degradation and we cannot remain indifferent any longer to the increasingly desperate “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS, 49).

The fifth anniversary of the encyclical comes in the midst of another watershed moment – a global pandemic – and Laudato Si’s message is just as prophetic today as it was in 2015. The encyclical can indeed provide the moral and spiritual compass for the journey to create a more caring, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable world. We have, in fact, a unique opportunity to transform the present groaning and travail into the birth pangs of a new way of living together, bonded together in love, compassion and solidarity, and a more harmonious relationship with the natural world, our common home. Truly, COVID-19 has made clear how deeply we are all interconnected and interdependent. As we begin to envision a post-COVID world, we need above all an integral approach as “everything is closely interrelated and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis” (LS, 137).

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is happy to promote the Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year (24 May 2020 – 24 May 2021) announced by Pope Francis. The Laudato Si’ Program Schedule is an open-ended list of initiatives for the celebration of the Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year to which we invite you to join us and add your own celebrations within your local communities. Click on the link below to learn more.

Laudato Si’ Program Schedule