Over the approximately 2000 years that the Roman Catholic Church has had a Pope, today we are seeing the first encyclical on the environment come to fruition, a major moment and sign of the times in terms of faith and ecology.
While the content is important, it is not new to a Christian audience. What is important is that the magnitude of the document is being leveraged to signal the much greater magnitude of the problem.
What is the problem?
This document does not pigeonhole the problem into a particular discipline or sector of society. This would be to affirm the artificial constructs held up in the face of a problem which transcends them all.
The Pope’s voice brings the Christian language of the Fall and sin into the realm of today’s most pressing ecological concerns in a more relevant way than has been done before by a Pope. It is not enough to merely cap and trade or change the materials we use. It is also urgent to cap and trade our ways thinking, being, and worshiping. The encyclical is a call to action from a moral, ethical, spiritual, and ecological imperative.
I must confess at this point that I actually have not read the document, though I have read a good bit of the preliminary analysis.
I do encourage everyone to read the document, but more importantly we should all be reading our institutions and networks, acting upon opportunities to institute ecological praxis wherever we can.
Ecological praxis defined as….? You decide. We will see.