Over the past couple years of Francis’s pontificate, I have had fielded innumerable questions from college students, colleagues, and parishioners who are confused by our reigning pope’s approach in general and his views expressed in Laudato Si’ in particular. Actually, I think that the pontiff’s recent encyclical ought to be applauded by all Catholics, and this is what I have taken up in my recent article published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
Contrary to the perception of many who have not read the document, it turns out that the question of climate change holds only a minor place within the scope of the encyclical, and it is largely irrelevant to Francis’s overarching message. In other words, the text is not “an encyclical on climate change,” as some have called it. It treats a number of other scientific issues and much, much more besides that. In this piece, what I do here is to offer a reflection on what I take to constitute the heart of Francis’s vision for an “integral ecology” and the “ecological virtues” demanded by it. In so doing, I assuredly touch on certain themes that others have treated, but I also hope to add some nuances that have not been addressed in the various commentaries currently circulating in the blogosphere. You can read the entire article here.