Richard A. Sokerka
Word from the Vatican this week is that Pope Francis’ long-awaited encyclical on the environment will be published June 18. It will be titled, “Laudato Sii” (“Praised Be”), a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of Creatures.”
“Laudato sii” is the introductory phrase to eight verses of St. Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer thanking God for the gifts of creation.
Building on a long tradition of Church teaching, the encyclical on human ecology and creation is something very close to the pope’s heart. Human ecology begins with protecting human life from its beginning to its natural end. Natural ecology recognizes that our faith calls us to protect and care for God’s creation
In his inaugural homily on March 19, 2013, Pope Francis said this: “The vocation of being a ‘protector’ means ‘protecting creation,’ the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as St. Francis of Assisi shows us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.”
In his encyclical, Pope Francis will be speaking as a pastor offering moral guidance rooted in central Catholic teachings about care for others and care for God’s creation.
May it strike a chord with people the world over.