In a message sent to participants in an international meeting organized by the Focolari Movement to mark the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis stressed “the urgent need for a new and more inclusive socio-economic paradigm” in order to achieve an authentic integral ecology, The following is the English text of his message, which was read out to the participants on Friday, 23 October.
Dear brothers and sisters!
I offer cordial greetings to all taking part in this international Meeting being held as part of the year-long observance of the fifth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. I express my gratitude to EcoOne, the ecological initiative of the Focolare Movement, and to the representatives of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Global Catholic Climate Movement who have cooperated in making this event possible.
Your Meeting, with its theme, “New Ways towards Integral Ecology: Five Years after Laudato Si’”, addresses a relational vision of humanity and care for our world from a variety of perspectives: ethical, scientific, social and theological. In recalling the conviction of Chiara Lubich that the created world bears within itself a charism of unity, I trust that her perspective can guide your work in the recognition that “everything is connected” and that “concern for the environment needs to be joined to sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society” (Laudato Si’, 91).
Among such problems is the urgent need for a new and more inclusive socio-economic paradigm that reflects the truth that we are “a single human family, fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, children of the same earth which is our common home” (Fratelli Tutti, 8). This solidarity with one another and with the world around us demands a firm willingness to develop and implement practical measures that foster the dignity of all persons in their human, family and work relationships, while at the same time combating the structural causes of poverty and working to protect the natural environment.
Achieving an integral ecology calls for a profound interior conversion on both the personal and communal level. As you examine the great challenges facing us at this time, including climate change, the need for sustainable development and the contribution religion can make to the environmental crisis, it is essential to break with the logic of exploitation and selfishness and to promote the practice of a sober, simple and humble lifestyle (cf. Laudato Si’, 222-224). It is my hope that your work will serve to cultivate in the hearts of our brothers and sisters a shared responsibility for one another as children of God and a renewed commitment to be good stewards of his gift of creation (cf. Gen 2:15).
Dear friends, once again I thank you for your research and your cooperative efforts to seek new ways that lead to an integral ecology for the common good of the human family and the created world. In offering my prayerful best wishes for your deliberations during this meeting, I cordially invoke upon you, your families and your associates God’s blessings of wisdom, strength and peace. And I ask you, please, to remember me in your prayers.
Rome, from Saint John Lateran, 23 October 2020