Alexandria, Va. (June 18, 2015) – In response to today’s release of Laudato Si’ (“Praised be You”), Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) President Sr. Donna Markham, OP, PhD, said she hopes its message will inform, inspire, and influence discussion about how our obligation to care for creation is as essential as our responsibility to care for each other.
“Pope Francis’ second encyclical promises to shine a light on our moral obligation to care for all of God’s creation, from our neighbors who are marginalized to the earth that nourishes us all,” said Sister Markham. “I look forward to reading this teaching document in great detail, and encourage all people of good will to join me in studying, reflecting on, and living out the insights and teaching of this profound document.”
Laudato Si’ focuses on our moral obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation and address the destructive impact our choices can make on the world around us. These choices, tied to environmental degradation, are associated with exacerbating the impact of natural disasters, disproportionately impacting the poor and vulnerable who are often less able to rebuild their lives.
As a national network of Catholic social service agencies, Catholic Charities USA and its agencies work in communities to bolster true sustainability by protecting the earth as well as safeguarding the poor. As Pope Francis writes, “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.”
“As Catholics, we are called to respect all life from natural beginning to natural end,” said Sister Markham. “This encyclical is a call to the world to care for our common home and improve our relationship with our natural and social environments. I know our network will be prayerfully reflecting on how best to serve, advocate, and convene around these issues, and I look forward to learning alongside of them.”
CCUSA will provide resources to its member agencies interested in incorporating the message of Laudato Si’ into their daily work, and will include a number of workshops on the document at its upcoming 2015 Annual Gathering, which will be held September 10-12 in Omaha, Nebraska.