Laudato Si is the title of an Encyclical Letter from Pope Francis. The title, ‘Praised be to you’, is taken from the words of Saint Francis. It has a subtitle, ‘On Care For Our Common Home’ – to emphasise the fact that we share this ‘home’ with other creatures and not just humans.
It is the first major intervention by the Catholic Church on the environment and marks a new era in Papal documents. It is unusual in that it doesn’t have a latin name – all other encyclicals do. It also quotes other authorities which is a first and is addressed to everyone on the planet – not just church members. We all ‘share a common home.’
Whereas most encyclicals are teaching documents, in Laudato Si, Pope Francis does not issue a set of instructions on what we ‘should’ do but rather calls for dialogue and debate among all people about the future of our common home. Pope Francis is keenly aware that everyone needs to be involved if we are to solve the problems of our ecological crisis and come up with solutions. “We are faced”, he says, “not with two separate crisis, one environmental and the other social but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental”. LS 139
He doesn’t want us just to read it but to do something about the issues. He is challenging us to expand our thinking about creation and our role in the world.