Laudato Si' and governance at Ave Maria Press

A brief essay by Catholic Ecology's Bill Patenaude looks at a surprising message in Laudato Si' about our expectations of government

Ave Maria Press invited me to contribute to their latest Ave Explores Series with a look at the convergence of government and faith. This was fun to write, since I've had over two decades to reflect on this after my return to the Church in 1999, at which point I had eleven years under my belt as a government regulator.

Here's part of the opening:

In praising international agencies and non-profit organizations for their work in the Amazon ... Pope Francis rightfully applauds efforts to ensure that government fulfills “its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve its country’s environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests.” (LS 38). He also makes a general call for pressuring governments to “develop more rigorous regulations, procedures, and controls” for the protection of local, regional, and worldwide ecosystems (LS 179).

To be fully appreciated, however, these expectations require a complete reading of Laudato Si’ with its Christian understanding of the human person and its “everything is connected” call to nurture and protect both our common home and each other. The role of government must certainly include rules and regulations and the will and means to enforce them. But Catholic environmental advocates must pray for and work towards something greater—something that cannot be legislated or litigated ...

Read the full piece here.

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.