This week, Pope Francis is making his first visit ever to the U.S., and there is plenty of speculation about what he will say. But the pope has already delivered a powerful challenge to Americans in the form of his recent encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.
While many in the media have claimed this encyclical is about climate change, that is like saying the Bill of Rights is about the quartering of soldiers. Both are mentioned in their respective documents; neither is privileged. This is not an encyclical about climate change — it is instead a stunning piece that lays out a vision of a meaningful human life. It also declares that our current institutions and approaches are inadequate to the challenge of allowing this meaningful life for the vast majority of people.
For Pope Francis, much of what is required for a meaningful life obviously (and understandably) centers on spirituality and serving God. But he has powerful additional messages for believers and nonbelievers alike — that meaning in life derives from how we treat each other, and how we care for nature. “Everything is connected” is an oft-repeated phrase in this encyclical. In Pope Francis... Read more