Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical: 13 Things to Know and Share

06/18/2015 Comments (71)

Here are 13 things to know and share about Pope Francis's new encyclical on the environment

Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical—Laudato Si’—is now out.

Here are 13 things to know and share . . .


1) What are the basic facts about this encyclical?

An encyclical is a teaching document issued by the pope. Encyclicals are among the more solemn and thus more authoritative papal documents.

This one is called Laudato Si’ (“Be praised” or “Praise be to you”)—a line from the Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi.

It is Pope Francis’s second encyclical. His first was Lumen Fidei, which was largely drafted by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Laudato Si’ is thus the first encyclical prepared entirely at Pope Francis’s initiative.

It is devoted to ecology and related...READ MORE

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Should You Read Laudato Si? A Quiz

06/18/2015 Comments (32)

Laudato Si is here, and not a moment too soon. Any day now, all the pundits and politicians and armchair theologians were going to start feeling ashamed for going so berserk over an encyclical that hadn't been released yet. Any day, I'm sure of it!. 

Now that it's here, should you read it? It is kind of long, and there aren't any pictures or gifs to break it up. Here's a short quiz to help you determine whether or not you should invest the time and effort. The more points you get, the more urgent it is that you read the encyclical.


Are you a faithful Catholic who feels drawn toward stewardship of the natural world, and who wishes the Church would give us some guidance about...READ MORE

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Pope Francis' Letter to World: Learn to Give, And Not Simply to Give Up

06/18/2015 Comments (9)

"View from Marine One on California Drought." By Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Out here in California, where a four-year drought has already resulted in the loss of an estimated 18,000 jobs in the state's agricultural sector for the first half of 2015, Pope Francis' climate-change encyclical resonates in a unique way, and will be celebrated in some quarters and reviled in others. 

It's easy to cherry pick the encyclical's policy prescriptions, as The New York Times did in a recent article, which hinted that partisan groups will use the encyclical to attack GOP presidential candidates who identify themselves as Catholic and may dispute some aspect of climate-change arguments.  

But this pastor from Argentina is offering a message that defies the current orthodoxy of...READ MORE

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Bring on the Temptations!

06/18/2015 Comments (3)

"No one is tempted more than he is able to bear."

The purpose of the newest book in the Navigating the Interior Life book series, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, is to reveal the unique personality, wisdom, and insight that often emerges out of the letters of the saints. These letters are a window into Saint Teresa’s genuine humanity, witness, and pragmatic advice for pursuing an intimate friendship with God.

I’ll be sharing some of the letters here, in the hope that you’ll be inspired to spend time prayerfully reflecting on them. This is Day 29 from the book.

To a Carmelite Nun
How to bear persecution.

. . . In order to profit and advance by means of persecutions and...READ MORE

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Carolyn Woo of CRS Previews Pope Francis's New Encyclical

06/17/2015 Comment

Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services. All photos below are courtesy of Catholic Relief Services. Photos show areas of the Philippines hit by some of the strongest typhoons on record, or drought stricken parts of Ethiopia due to changing weather patterns.

ROME — As one of the encyclical presenters for the Vatican, Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the international development and relief agency of the U.S. Catholic bishops, knows what’s coming with Laudato Si: On the Care of Our Common Home. What she sees is a game-changer in the discussion on climate change and man’s impact on the environment.

The Vatican’s press office announced Monday that Woo will be one of four presenters when the Pope Francis’s encyclical is rolled out on June 18.

Speaking with the Register by phone from Rome, Woo speaks about the role private enterprise and individuals can play in addressing climate change, where multiple man-made factors may be at play...READ MORE

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Full Text and Guidance Map for Pope Francis' Encyclical 'Laudato Si'

06/17/2015 Comments (6)

Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si was published today, the full text of which can be found here.

Here below are guidance notes on the document, issued by the Vatican.

Reflections on the document were also given at a launch at the Vatican today by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, Prof. John Schellnhuber of the Potstdam Institute, and Carolyn Woo, CEO and President of Catholic Relief Services.  

Laudato si’: A “Map”

This text is a useful guide for an initial reading of the Encyclical. It will help you to grasp the overall development and identify the basic themes. The first two pages are an...READ MORE

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Randy Hain on His New Book 'Special Children, Blessed Fathers'

06/17/2015 Comments (2)

Randy Hain recently sent me an advance copy of his newly released book, Special Children, Blessed Fathers: Encouragement for Fathers of Children with Special Needs. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ll tell you this: what I got was a great read.

The book’s made up of chapters written by fathers of children with special needs, ranging from autism spectrum to Downs Syndrome to other special needs.

And it. is. amazing.

It made me consider how often we women talk about these things. As a writer, I have an ongoing commentary in my head. But how often do we give voice to the men we love? How often do we listen to their perspective…for that matter, how often do we ask?

Randy has not only...READ MORE

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3 Ways America’s Work Ethic is Destroying Families

06/16/2015 Comments (38)
Gustave Courbet,

– Gustave Courbet, "The Stone Breakers" (1848). From Wikimedia Commons.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

This proverb does not have much resonance with Americans. In an age of numerous technological advances meant to save us time and energy, we find ourselves working more than ever. Instead of working fewer hours and taking more vacation, we have freely chosen to do the opposite.

We live by the “American Dream” where anyone can achieve anything if we simply “work hard enough.” Often it means “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” in order to realize your dreams.

While these maxims are not inherently bad, we have taken them to a new level and are working more and playing less. Unfortunately the family has been caught in the crossfire. As we...READ MORE

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