Laudate Deum

(Rome: Vatican, 2023), xx

There are no lasting changes without cultural changes...and there are no cultural changes without personal changes. (70)

  • "This is a global social issue and one intimately related to the dignity of human life." (3)

1. The Global Climate Crisis

  • "Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident....palpable expressions of a silent disease that affects everyone." (5)
  • "Some effects of the climate crisis are already irreversible...This is one of the many signs that the other creatures of this world have stopped being our companions along the way and have become instead our victims." (15)
  • “Everything is connected” and “No one is saved alone”. (19)

2. A Growing Technocratic Paradigm

  • "The greater problem is the ideology underlying an obsession: to increase human power beyond anything imaginable, before which nonhuman reality is a mere resource at its disposal. Everything that exists ceases to be a gift for which we should be thankful, esteem and cherish, and instead becomes a slave, prey to any whim of the human mind and its capacities." (22)
  • Citing Laudato Si 104: "Never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely, particularly when we consider how it is currently being used… In whose hands does all this power lie, or will it eventually end up? It is extremely risky for a small part of humanity to have it." (23)
  • "There were historical moments where our admiration at progress blinded us to the horror of its consequences." (24)
  • "Human groupings have often “created” an environment, reshaping it in some way without destroying it or endangering it. The great present-day problem is that the technocratic paradigm has destroyed that healthy and harmonious relationship. In any event, the indispensable need to move beyond that paradigm, so damaging and destructive, will not be found in a denial of the human being, but include the interaction of natural systems “with social systems”." (27)
  • Slight dismissal of nuclear power in 30?
  • "if one does not seek a genuine equality of opportunity, “meritocracy” can easily become a screen that further consolidates the privileges of a few with great power" (32)

3. The Weakness of International Politics

  • "Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day" (34, cf Fratelli Tutti)
  • Requires multilateral agreements and "more effective world organizations" (35)
  • "No crisis should go to waste": "It continues to be regrettable that global crises are being squandered when they could be the occasions to bring about beneficial changes." (36)
  • Multilateralism "from below" (activists working together) (38)
  • But we also need to use the centuries of experience of the old diplomacy (41)
  • Sounds like he's proposing something apart from the UN and national treaties, but unsure exactly what...

4. Climate Conferences: Progress and Failures

  • Reviews a number of prior climate conferences, concluding with Laudato Si that "accords have been poorly implemented, due to lack of suitable mechanisms for oversight, periodic review and penalties in cases of noncompliance. The principles which they proclaimed still await an efficient and flexible means of practical implementation" and "international negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good" (52)

5. What to Expect from COP28 in Dubai?

  • "We must move beyond the mentality of appearing to be concerned but not having the courage needed to produce substantial changes." (56)
  • "Although the measures that we can take now are costly, the cost will be all the more burdensome the longer we wait." (56)
  • "To suppose that all problems in the future will be able to be solved by new technical interventions is a form of homicidal pragmatism" (57)
  • "it is a human and social problem on any number of levels. For this reason, it calls for involvement on the part of all (58)
  • Real change must be "drastic, intense, and count on the commitment of all" (59)

6. Spiritual Motivations

  • "The Judaeo-Christian vision of the cosmos defends the unique and central value of the human being amid the marvellous concert of all God’s creatures, but today we see ourselves forced to realize that it is only possible to sustain a “situated anthropocentrism”. To recognize, in other words, that human life is incomprehensible and unsustainable without other creatures." (67)
  • "Let us stop thinking, then, of human beings as autonomous, omnipotent and limitless, and begin to think of ourselves differently, in a humbler but more fruitful way." (68)
  • "Yet what is important is something less quantitative: the need to realize that there are no lasting changes without cultural changes, without a maturing of lifestyles and convictions within societies, and there are no cultural changes without personal changes." (70)
  • "Efforts by households...are helping to bring about large processes of transformation rising from deep within society." (71)
  • "If we consider that emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries, we can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact." (72)
  • "'Praise God' is the title of this letter. For when human beings claim to take God’s place, they become their own worst enemies." (73)

Topic: Climate Change



Created: 2023-09-12-Tue
Updated: 2023-10-09-Mon