- I invite everyone to read the Holy Father’s encyclical and to reflect on his key question: ‘What kind of a world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” – Archbishop Eamon Martin
Speaking as President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin has welcomed the publication today of the new Encyclical Letter from Pope Francis Laudato Si, on care for our common home.
Archbishop Martin said, Pope Francis’ encyclical is good news for the Universal Church, and for the whole world. I invite everyone to read the encyclical and to reflect on its key question, ‘What kind of a world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’
I welcome the fact that the Pope’s new encyclical takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis of Assisi, “Praise be to you, my Lord” which in the Canticle of the Creatures reminds us that the earth, our common home “is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us”. Pope Francis points out in his encyclical that this “sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. Her cry, united with that of the poor, stirs our conscience to “acknowledge our sins against creation” (8). ”
Pope Francis cautions us about how we approach nature and the environment saying, “if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs.”
Pope Francis also urges us to reflect on our Christian responsibility of not closing our eyes to the suffering of those who are most exposed to the consequences of environmental degradation. These are invariably the poorest communities and those who contribute least to the destruction of the natural environment.
In Saint Francis of Assisi – Patron Saint of the environment – we see the example of a true “protector”; a model of an integral ecology where concern for the poor is interwoven with the celebration of the beauty of nature and compassion for all living things. The care of creation exemplified by Saint Francis precedes any ecological crisis, underlining the fact that, for the Christian, care for the natural environment is a virtue in itself.
Pope Francis highlights how faithful Saint Francis was to scripture by inviting us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness.
Pope Francis reminds us in his encyclical that “we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshments from her waters”.
I add my voice to that of Pope Francis in calling for a global ecological conversion, a conversion which begins with each one of us, a conversion which must begin now. Let us pray for “inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.”
Notes to Editors
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
- Along with a special web feature the text of the encyclical is available on catholicbishops.ieand hard copies of the text are available from Veritas bookshops.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444