Sure enough, there have been plenty of reactions after the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si on “care for our common home”, the earth. (See page 4.) This document calls for an “integral ecology”, that respects not only nature and animals, but also, and especially, human beings. All creation is a gift from God and therefore men must use it according to God’s plan by not wasting or destroying it. Everything is connected, the Pope said, and if we do not respect human beings, we will neither respect nature nor other living beings.
Although this is the first time an encyclical letter of a Pope speaks exclusively about environmental concerns, Pope Francis essentially repeats what the Church’s Magisterium has been teaching on this subject. For instance, Benedict XVI wrote in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (n. 51): “The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development.” We just have to read the Message that John Paul II wrote for the 1190 World Day of Peace. (See page 14.)
In his encyclical, Pope Francis uses strong language to denounce the current financial system, adding that it is the “idolatry of money” that prevents any reform to protect the environment. Money has become a god, an idol, making people sacrifice reality – the environment – to a mere symbol of reality – money.
Everything Pope Francis suggests in his encyclical to protect the environment and the human person is very commendable, but cannot be achieved without a reform of the current financial system. When one studies the question, one sees that the Economic Democracy or Social Credit proposals, as set out by Clifford Hugh Douglas and Louis Even, is an excellent way to dramatically reduce the waste of resources while promoting the development of the human person. (See article page 16.)
Pope Francis suggests a change in our lifestyles, and a conversion of hearts; we must first admit that we cannot take the place of God; we are His creatures, and He is the Creator.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the virtue of justice as follows (n. 1807): “Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.”
What is due to each human person, according to Economic Democracy, and taught in various issues of MICHAEL is a dividend, based on each citizen sharing the cultural inheritance of inventions and nature’s gifts and resources. However, one often forgets about the part that is due to God, namely, the virtue of religion. And then one wonders why things have gone and are going so wrong in society.
Western societies, with all their material wealth, think that happiness and peace is possible while leaving God out…and yet today there is so much sadness, suicide, solitude and isolation. Quebec, in these past few years with its rapid secularization, is a striking example of this. Let us remember the words of Pope John Paul II in a homily given in Montreal on September 11, 1984:
“To replace God is an impossible task. Nothing can fill the emptiness of his absence, neither abundant material wealth — which does not satisfy the heart — nor easy and permissive lifestyles which do not quench our thirst for happiness – nor the exclusive search for success or power for their own sake — nor even technology which makes it possible to change the world but brings no real answer to the mystery of our destiny.”
One example of an attempt to replace God, or destroy His plan, is the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that the union of the people of the same sex can be called marriage. (See page 33.) God’s laws will never change, but today’s society is becoming more hostile to these Christian principles. Christians will be persecuted, but should not be afraid. We must put all our trust in God and He will take care of us. An example is the testimony of a mother who was asked by her doctors to abort her baby; she refused. and God helped her. (See page 30.)
Saints are examples of people who stood up for their faith in God’s plan, even to the point of maytyrdom. One of these witnesses is Fr. Jerzy Popilelusko, the famous chaplain of the Polish trade union Solidarity, who was martyred by the Communists in 1984, and declared Blessed by the Church in 2010. We have the testimony of his own mother. (See page 25.)
Let us confront the challenges of our timesin order to “give their due to God and neighbor”!