Laudato Si on the Connection of All to All

Laudato Si on the Connection of All to All June 23, 2015

Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected. Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for “instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature”.

This situation has led to a constant schizophrenia, wherein a technocracy which sees no intrinsic value in lesser beings coexists with the other extreme, which sees no special value in human beings. But one cannot prescind from humanity. There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology. When the human person is considered as simply one being among others, the product of chance or physical determinism, then “our overall sense of responsibility wanes”.[96]A misguided anthropocentrism need not necessarily yield to “biocentrism”, for that would entail adding yet another imbalance, failing to solve present problems and adding new ones. Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world unless, at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued.

Note how seamlessly he ties abortion to the Church’s respect for nature and the poor.  These things are totally interconnected, which is why it is utter folly for environmentalists to be calling for abortion to solve our problems and why it is equally stupid for anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Catholics to be screaming about this encyclical as though it is the opposite of being prolife.  Using the unborn as human shields for contempt for the rest of the Church’s teaching is the dumbest thing Movement Conservatism and its false apostles at place like Pewsitter could do.

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  • Pete the Greek

    The discussion of how everything is really connected to everything else is almost….
    Tolkienesque. 🙂

  • We have a number of ways to monitor the impact of things. They all have scaling problems. Information overload is a constant threat. The least overhead method we’ve found with the least scaling problems is the price mechanism operating through a free market. It’s still not perfect, as many pro-market people have pointed out.

    In the arena of environmental issues there are special difficulties that we are only now starting to figure out how to get around. We’re starting to create ownership in fisheries, price water, and engage in other activity that might allow us to ignore fewer things without succumbing to information overload, something that I think might be related to Laudato Si’s complaint elsewhere about rapidification.

    As I’m reading more of this encyclical I’m starting to worry how all the separate threads of this are going to come together and square all these contradictory circles. Or is Pope Francis’ encyclical heir to one of Peronism’s less attractive features, its infamous incoherence?

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Considering St JohnPaul was still explaining Rerum Novarum 100yrs later, I suggest your concern is a little off the mark.