Encyclical: Questions and Answers

Common questions answered

The Vatican has supplied some questions and answers for important issues raised by Laudato Si'.

What’s new in Laudato Si’ (LS)? What’s in this document that we have not seen from the Church before?

The document is a call to conversion and action. While Laudato Si’ fits perfectly within Catholic tradition, it is saying with new force that concern for the environment is no longer “optional” for a believer. Caring for the environment is now even more clearly and surely part of Church teaching.

Why does the Pope pay little attention to the population problem?

LS acknowledges that population density can be a complicating factor in some areas. But people are not the problem. Waste is a much bigger problem: Our throwaway culture and our tendency to consume without reflecting on our real needs, both material and spiritual.

The Encyclical seems to make technology and finance enemies. Isn’t that a bit simplistic, even retrograde?

Technology and the financial markets can be wonderful instruments, as long as they are serving human beings, enhancing human dignity, as opposed to making relatively few very rich and a lot of people slaves. This calls for honest debate. What constitutes real technological progress? Where does it help human dignity, but where does it degrade it? Or financial markets: Are they helping to spread the wealth? Are they helping to bring people out of poverty?

LS argues against fossil fuels. And yet cheap energy has done a lot to lift the poor out of poverty. Does the Pope want to deny them that possibility?

No. The Pope wants the wealthy nations, and those that have polluted more, to cut back on fossil fuels. He argues that alternative energy is available for all. But that requires solidarity: Wealthy nations sharing their profits, helping the poorer nations to develop alternative energy sources.

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Encyclical: Questions and Answers

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