Press Release: Green Encyclical: Now the work really starts


Green Christian welcomes the Pope’s ground-breaking ‘green encyclical’, but says reforms are now needed to Catholic Social Teaching.

For ecumenical charity Green Christian Laudato Si’ is ‘one of the most encouraging doctrinal statements of the modern era’.  It launches a new programme of prophetic witness and collaboration which reaches well beyond the Paris climate summit this autumn.

The new encyclical unmasks society’s obsession with economic growth.  It challenges   Christians and economists to work together to map out the transition to a truly sustainable and life-giving post-growth economy.  It also provides a robust doctrinal response to the unprecedented mass extinction of species  revealed by scientists this week.

Crucially Laudato Si’ offers a compelling alternative to the technocratic notion of ‘stewardship of creation’.  Green Christian have long argued that in promoting ‘stewardship’ churches risk colluding in the ‘technocratic paradigm’ of which the encyclical repeatedly calls humanity to repent.  In its pages the Pope radically reframes Christian environmental witness, offering instead a new, participative vision of ‘integral ecology’ rooted in the kinship of humanity with all creatures, inspired by St Francis of Assisi.

However Green Christian is concerned that Catholic Social Teaching must now urgently be called to account in the light of the encyclical.  Paul Bodenham, the charity’s chair, said, “In the pages of Laudato Si’ there is no mistaking the Pope’s ambition for an ecological renewal in the church’s witness.  But if that renewal is going to take root, it is vital that his ‘integral ecology’ gains access to the citadels of Catholic teaching on social justice and on ‘life’.

“Catholic Social Teaching has developed in an ecological vacuum, and is simply not fit for the 21st Century predicament.  Laudato Si’ announces that the Church’s social teaching is ‘called to be enriched’ by taking up the environmental challenge.  This work must start straight away.  Unless it undergoes an ecological reform Catholic Social Teaching will soon be found complicit in the very ‘anthropocentrism’ which the encyclical denounces.

“The encyclical’s only weakness is on population.  It says that ‘to blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some is one way of refusing to face the issues’.   But many ‘people of goodwill’ have seen this as avoiding the population issue.   They know that resource depletion is the product of both together – individual consumption and the number of consumers.  The Church is going to have to try harder than that to convince the non-Catholics the encyclical seeks to address.

“Nonetheless for Christians in the Green movement Laudato Si’ is the one of the most encouraging official doctrinal statements of the modern age.  It contains much we want to promote, and we look forward to playing our part in turning its vision into reality.”



1. Green Christian is a registered trading name of Christian Ecology Link (CEL):

2. Paul Bodenham is Chair of Green Christian and a Franciscan tertiary. He can be contacted on 01949 861516 for reaction, comment and analysis, and is willing to consider requests for articles.  He will be speaking at the National Justice and Peace Network on 19 September on Francisconomics: The Saint, the Pope, and the economy of enough and on 7 November will introduce a major conference The economics of hope with Molly Scott-Cato MEP and Dr Jonathan Rowson RSA.

3. Green Christian works with churches and individuals in search of sustainable living, by running conferences, workshops and retreats. It sponsors the LOAF campaign (eco-friendly food production), ecocell groups (carbon footprint reduction) and the Joy in Enough initiative, and publishes magazines, pamphlets and leaflets giving information about best environmental practice.



Author: | Date: 22 June, 2015 | Category: Media Release | Comments: 2

Comments on "Press Release: Green Encyclical: Now the work really starts"

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June 30, 2015

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