The Spirituality of Laudato Si' : A new issue of The Way

The latest issue (volume 54 no 4) of The Way has been published and is available now. Each issue has one article made freely available. This month's is from Pedro Walpole: Do Not Be Afraid: Laudato Si’ and Integral Ecology

Writing from the perspective of Asia Pacific, Pedro Walpole sees in Laudato si’ a call to restore a sense of what is enough to human living, avoiding unsustainable over-consumption. One way to foster this is to deepen the bonds of solidarity between people living in different parts of the world. To live in this way will require a change of outlook that ultimately spirituality alone can promote and support.

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The rest of the issue is available by subscription and includes:

Nicholas King
Laudato si’ : A Biblical Angle

Laudato si’ is notable for the many biblical passages that it cites. Nick King shows that it does not employ these as ‘proof texts’, taking verses out of context to shore up pre-established positions. Instead, Pope Francis offers a thoughtful reading of a wide range of carefully selected texts, which taken together present a challenge that it will be difficult to ignore.

Beth R. Crisp
On Being Open to Changing Our Minds: A Response to Laudato si'

The first European settlers in Australia saw the work of clearing the land of its native vegetation to make room for crops, livestock and housing as carrying out the will of God. Now Pope Francis calls urgently for the protection of natural habitats. Beth Crisp finds in Ignatian spirituality resources for Australians and all of us to face a change of outlook of this magnitude.

Robert R. Marsh
Ecology, Angels and Virtual Reality: A Triptych

The spirit of a place is a common image, dating back at least to the Roman idea of genius loci. Rob Marsh considers that the imaginative awareness of spirit in nature is vital for those attempting to gather the resources needed to tackle the environmental crisis that we face.

Gregory Schweers
The Texas Oil Patch, Pope Francis and Laudato si'

Gregory Schweers grew up in the middle of an area of the USA devoted to petrochemical production, and his family drew its living from this industry. He presents a reading of the encyclical deeply influenced by the ambiguity of such an upbringing. From this perspective he is able both to affirm positive aspects of the Pope's writing, but also suggest some points of critique.

John Bayer
“A Voice Crying in the Desert”: Laudato Si’ as Prophecy

Although Laudato Si’ is recognised as the first papal encyclical to deal so fully with environmental questions, Francis draws widely on the work of his predecessors, especially John Paul II and Benedict XVI. What, then, makes this encyclical distinctive? John Bayer argues that it is the prophetic character of the Pope himself, a character proper to the office that he holds.

Paul L. Younger
Ignatian Spirituality and the Ecological Vision of Laudato si’

The question of how we are to view the world around us is central to Laudato si’. Is Creation, and all it contains, simply to be exploited to meet our short-term needs, or even desires? Younger discovers in Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises pointers to a different outlook, one that can support the ‘ecological conversion’ to which the Pope is calling his readers.

Margaret Scott
Greening the Vows: Laudato si' and Religious Life

Reading the encyclical from the perspective of a consecrated life shaped by the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Margaret Scott sees in these vows an environmental sensitivity that leads to the cherishing of the earth. In this, the Pope’s patron, St Francis of Assisi, stands as a clear model and inspiration.

Michael Smith
God in the Environment

One way of thinking about the impact that human beings have had on the environment is to see us as responsible for destroying an originally perfect Eden. Smith believes that there never was such earthly perfection. He offers instead insights derived from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, by which we can look forward, not back, to a time when all will come to fulfilment in Christ.

Teresa White
Seeing with Pure Eyes

Since the Enlightenment a scientific outlook has come to dominate the Western world, expanding over ever-wider areas of human knowledge. In the process, a more contemplative awareness that looks at the world with a loving gaze has been displaced. White argues that meaning is best accessed through this contemplation, the kind of meaning that we need to solve ecological problems.

Peter Saunders
Laudato Si and the Giving of the Spiritual Exercises: An Australian Perspective

Peter Saunders asks what effect this encyclical might have on how a director gives the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. It could, for instance, influence the choice of texts offered to the one praying. More challengingly, he suggests taking exercitants out of their familiar air-conditioned cocoons so as to experience the sacred character of a natural landscape.

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