MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged a “courageous review” of policies and lifestyles after Pope Francis released Laudato Si (Be Praised), a historic encyclical on ecology.
In a statement on Thursday, June 18, Tagle said: “I propose that we pay close attention to the following aspects of the Pope’s letter:
- a restoration of a contemplative view of creation
- the importance of the belief in the Creator
- the rediscovery of the role of human beings as stewards and not as pseudo-owners of the earth
- the plan of God that the goods of the earth be shared by all
- the vital connection between the environment and human life
- a courageous review of political and economic policies, business practices, mindsets, and lifestyles toward the changes needed to care for our common home, to uplift the poor and to give glory and praise to the Creator.”
He added: “With Pope Francis, I invite the faithful, the religious, and the clergy of the Archdiocese of Manila to study, enrich, discuss, and meditate on the various points of the encyclical. We call on non-Christians, families, educators, politicians, business people, experts in science and digital technology, media, consumer groups, and non-governmental and peoples´ organizations to study the encyclical and its proposals.”
Through the encyclical Laudato Si, Francis on Thursday issued a global plea for action to prevent climate change from destroying the planet. He also said wealthy countries must bear primary responsibility for creating the problem and for solving it. (READ: FAQs: What’s an encyclical?)
‘Not a teaching one science’
In his statement, Tagle also pointed out that Laudato Si “does not pretend to resolve scientific questions related to the environment and climate change.”
“Rather it offers a pastoral analysis and appeal nurtured by the Bible, the Catholic social teachings, the pronouncements of popes, and a reading of the current ecological conditions we are facing,” the cardinal said.
Tagle, whom Francis has appointed to top positions in the Catholic Church, met with the Pope a day after the encyclical’s release. The newly elected president of the Catholic Biblical Federation, he led the federation’s members in an audience with Francis on Friday, June 19, in Vatican City. (READ: In 2 years, Pope gives plum posts to Filipinos)
Like Tagle, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday, June 17, clarified that the Pope’s encyclical “is not a teaching on science” but on morality.
In a statement, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said, “We are taught the science, and we are given various technologies to cope, insofar as coping remains possible.”
“But the roots of our indifference to environmental and ecological concerns – which, in the ultimate analysis, are concerns for the good of all – and the sinful dispositions in all of us that make us contributors to the depredation of a world entrusted to our stewardship, these are what scientists cannot teach us. All this, the encyclical promises to address,” Villegas said.
Among the passages cited in Laudato Si is a statement from the CBCP in 1988 – the world’s first pastoral letter on the environment. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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