Monday, June 22, 2015

The Encyclical of Pope Francis Calls for Revolution

The zeal surrounding the recently released encyclical of Pope Francis is as revolutionary in modern times as the message which it conveys. In his unprecedented encyclical called "Laudato Sii", or “"Praised Be", the pope has called for a " bold cultural revolution" to tackle environmental and social problems. Pope Francis has made waves around the world with his historic call for climate action. The Pontiff addressed the need for a revolutionary change in the hearts and minds of people in terms of the way we treat the Earth and each other.

"Pope Francis is personally committed to this [climate] issue like no other pope before him. The encyclical will have a major impact. It will speak to the moral imperative of addressing climate change in a timely fashion in order to protect the most vulnerable," said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief, at the Bonn negotiations earlier in June.

The call which was published in five languages is intended not only for all 5000 Catholic bishops and 1.2 billion Catholics, but for all people, everywhere in the world. "This encyclical is aimed at everyone” the Pope said before the Encyclical’s release. "Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has entrusted to us."

In his encyclical the pope not only says that climate change in largely due to human activities he also says that left unchecked its consequences will be catastrophic. The pontiff's encyclical is a game changing plea both for environmental responsibility and better treatment of the poor.

The encyclical is informed by science but it does not cast technology as the savior. The document seeks to transform us in ways that lead to lasting change.

As explained by Carmelite Father Eduardo Agosta Scarel, a climate scientist who teaches at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires, the pope is "aiming at a change of heart. What will save us is not technology or science. What will save us is the ethical transformation of our society."

As one of the most trusted and popular people on Earth, Pope Francis can do a lot to help change hearts and minds. The pope is calling for a change within us a change in the human psyche which is the best and most enduring form of change. He has already succeeded in garnering popular attention and he is using his position to highlight the importance of environmental and social sustainability.

The document concludes with the following hope, "while [people are] capable of the worst, [they] are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start." Like Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi, Pope Francis is an inspiring figure whose words will resonate for centuries. Although there is still a long way to go the Pontiff may succeed in spearheading a much needed revolution in human consciousness.

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