If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships….  Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence.

Pope Francis
From Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home

10 comments on “Healing

  1. Aggie says:

    That has striking similarity to the guiding principles of permaculture, though permaculture is sans reference to God: Care for the earth; care for people; give surplus thus generated to earth and people… Thank you for feeding us chunks of this document, making it less intimidating in time demand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Aggie. Read my reply to Dave’s comment for more wisdom. I’m not sure I’ll return to this document any more, even though it is full of rich wisdom. We’ll see. 🙂


  2. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, oh, boy, we are far away from goats frolicking in the pasture with deer today. It’s days like this that you really challenge my mind. That’s a good thing. I’m just a farm boy that likes simple things but today’s reading from the Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home is definitely deep philosophy. It’s takes me a little while to digest even a short reading like this one. Let me see if I got the meaning of this writing.

    It appears to me that Pope Francis is saying that our moral, cultural, and spiritual relationships are all intertwined with our relationship with nature. We can’t separate our relationship with nature away from our relationships with God and others. If we try, it would be promoting the individual instead of the relationships outside of the individual. It would lock us into an experience that only exists in our minds.

    Any additional comments are welcome for a full understanding. I totally agree with relationships being all connected. If I could return in time to advise a younger me, this would be the advice I’d give. Be more attentive to relationships and not so connected to stuff.

    Have a great sweet corn eating day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I’m smiling Dave because I’m not sure what he means by “stifling immanence.” I almost edited that out, but left it in because I thought folks smarter than me might appreciate it. 🙂

      What he is saying here is best appreciated if seen in the larger context of the paper, but I figured I was already trying peoples’ patience with these quotes so I only posted these 3 sentences.

      Before this paragraph Francis has been criticizing a “misguided anthropocentrism” that causes humanity to undervalue and often abuse the natural world. He says that, “An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a Promethean vision of mastery over the world, which gave the impression that the protection of nature was something that only the faint-hearted cared about. Instead, our ‘dominion’ over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship.” He continues, “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.” That’s a really important message I think.

      But then he argues that we shouldn’t go too far in the other extreme either: “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….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.”

      It is at that point that he says the things I posted. If we are going to heal our misguided relationship with nature, we must also heal human relationships. I read it as a call to community, joined with a call to responsible stewardship of the environment. Our relationship with the environment cannot be separated from our relationship with the rest of humanity.

      There is so much more in this document I feel an urge to post, but I’ll probably move on at this point, rather than risk boring people. I hope his message has a deep impact.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m really liking this Pope friend of yours. 😉 Seriously, and with all due respect – I’m with Aggie – very appreciative of you sharing the Pope’s thoughts in easy to digest bites. I would never have read any of it on my own.


    • Bill says:

      I’m glad for your comment. When I posted this I imagined people seeing it, groaning, and saying something like, “Oh please, not more of the Pope again.” 🙂

      I’m a big fan of this document (as is evident). It resonates with me and beautifully describes a lot of what motivates me (although I don’t agree with every word of it). I’m glad to know you appreciate the posts. There’s a lot more I’d like to say about his paper, but I’ll probably move on for now. Have a look at the reply I left to Dave’s comment to see the context of these sentences.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. avwalters says:

    For anyone curious on the issue, I recommend reading the entire treatise. Pope Frank hasn’t inspired me to return to Catholic Church, but he has given me hope that others will listen and return to their senses.


    • Bill says:

      I strongly concur in your recommendation. But I’ve dished out a few bits of it because I know it’s hard to make the time to read a document that long. I’ve enjoyed going back to it. It’s refreshing and encouraging to know that someone with a platform like his is putting this message out.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. While I’m glad the Pope is supporting the environment, I’m still not a fan of the guy. Not just because we are agnostic, but because he’s well known to be a massive homophobe. And then there’s Catholicism and its treatment of women (including birth control and the right to decide what to do with her own body), and of course saying that anyone dissing another’s religion deserved “a punch”. As per the NY Times, “Francis said that attempts to “redefine the very institution of marriage” and a “lack of openness to life” threatened the family.” Ugh.

    There are better environmentalists to quote. Just my $.02 🙂


    • Bill says:

      I’m not Catholic and the Catholic church’s exclusion of women from the priesthood is something that I disagree with so strongly that I could never see myself becoming Catholic (as much as I admire their emphasis on social justice). My admiration for this Pope is based on the work he’s doing within the context of his faith tradition (which again is not my own). His emphasis on preferential treatment of the poor and his attempts to steer the church in a more progressive direction are encouraging to me. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some dramatic changes in Catholic doctrine during his tenure. But even if that doesn’t happen, I’m very pleased that he has called the world’s attention the environmental crisis and the moral/ethical issues it implicates.

      Liked by 1 person

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