Laudato Si’ and the Via Transformativa, continued

We meditated the other day on Pope Francis’ calling us to creativity in defense of our Mother Earth. Recalling an earlier post (Pope Francis: Mixing the Vias Positiva and Negativa in Appeal for Creation), we explored the way in which the encyclical Laudato Si’ melds the Vias Creativa and Transformativa.

Pope Francis’ encyclical may be read or downloaded here

There is no “room for the globalization of indifference,” as Pope Francis puts it in Laudato Si’.  Not caring is not an option.  But the transformation we need is not just personal—it is systemic.

The problems lie in structures themselves and “we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis” since the “techno-economic paradigm” is capable of overwhelming “not only our politics but also freedom and justice.”

Pope Francis is explicit about the ineffective and indeed destructive economic system that dominates our planet:

Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment.

The avalanche of denial arises because “distractions constantly dull our consciousness of just how limited and finite our world really is.”  The market is in fact an idol, a “deified market,” which we are taught to worship and not question as if it were the only economic option humanity has. 

Climate Justice activists at a Cap & Trade protest in Chicago. Photo by Wesha on Wikimedia Commons.

He identifies “sin” with the rupture we have from creation (as well as the Creator and one another).   He summons all people to solidarity “and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters” while recognizing in them “an appreciation of their immense dignity.”  

And he wisely speaks to the topic of “Justice between the Generations” and how future generations are depending on us and are in every way related to us, calling for an “intergenerational solidarity” which is “not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.”  The environment is ours “on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next,” he says, citing a statement from the bishops of Portugal.  

Veteran actor/activist Jane Fonda marches with students in the Global Climate Strike, 9/20/2019. Photographer unknown. From Jane Fonda’s Facebook page.

Pope Francis believes that our generation is very much involved in “the pains of childbirth” as we try to learn anew how to cooperate with the Creator, that “God can bring good out of the evil we have done” since the Holy Spirit is so powerfully creative.   

There lies his hope and ours, that we can change our ways, that we are endowed with immense intelligence and creativity, that if we pull out of denial and away from destructive economic systems and relationships and beyond a dulled consciousness anything is possible.  Or, I might add, citing eco philosopher David Orr, “Hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up.”  When we go about doing both our inner work and our outer work, hope happens. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Laudato Sí: The Pope’s Encyclical and the Coming of Age of Creation Spirituality

Banner Image: “Golden Calf at Occupy Wall Street.” A coalition of clergy carry a golden calf as part of the Occupy Wall Street protest, 10/9/2011. Photo by Tani P. on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

What follows from an awareness that the environment is “on loan to each generation which must then hand it on to the next?”

Do you see “sin” as a rupture from creation?  What does “salvation” mean in that context?

Do you agree that the market can be an “idol” and a “deified” object?  What follows from that awareness?

Recommended Reading

 In this extended commentary, Matthew Fox examines Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, noting its  creation spirituality perspective and calling on readers to abandon doctrinal squabbles and unite in protecting “our common home” through the vias positiva, negativa, creativa and transformativa.

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.

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