The following is a reflection written by Fr. Ted Cassidy, S.M., in conversation with Bro. Ray Fitz, S.M.
July 11, 2022.
While reading Massimo Borghesi’s book Catholic Discordance, Neo-conservatism vs. the Field Hospital Church of Pope Francis (Liturgical Press, 2021), I realized how different his understanding of Laudato Si is from the ordinary concepts I read and hear from young people about the reasons for the care of our environment. Pope Francis presents a powerful and beautiful vision of how to care for mother earth. In addition, he repeatedly shows in the encyclical how misguided technology and financial and political powers are preventing care for the nature of the earth. Leadership is needed to share his insights.
Pope Francis gives an entirely different vision and means to bring human nature in harmony with the earth. For example, in paragraph 111, Francis states:
“Ecological culture cannot be reduced to a series of urgent and partial responses to the immediate problems of pollution, environmental decay and the depletion of natural resources. There needs to be a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm. Otherwise, even the best ecological initiatives can find themselves caught up in the same globalized logic. To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.”
When I joined the Marianists, I recognized that the Marianists were forming leaders who could change the world. We are doing the same today. I propose that we invite young people, as well as older persons, to join us in the movement, which calls forth those who want to follow the leadership of the Gospel of the Lord, of the Church, of Pope Francis. Just as Jesus called for workers, we can call forth those who may have a beginning interest in caring for the environment to grow in understanding of what Francis is saying in Laudato Si and put it into practice.
In our various educational works, Marianist Lay Communities, and other organizations, we can provide means so that we are part of the Church’s effort to form leaders who are willing to spend their energy to change the environment. We, Marianists, are heavily into environmental work. Our various groups can call leaders who want to learn what Francis is saying to bring about a renewed world.