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Bishop Walkowiak's statement on "Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home"

On Thursday, June 18, 2015, Pope Francis released an encyclical entitled Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. Laudato Si' is Latin for “Praised be,” one of the opening lines in St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creatures. The document focuses on the environment and our role in its care and preservation of our natural resources. In that prayer, St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, thanks God for the gifts of creation. A link to the encyclical can be found here.
 
Pope Francis places a priority on responsible stewardship of our natural resources by urgently calling us to see the bond between the flourishing of creation and the dignity of the individual. He draws attention to our moral responsibility as good stewards of our shared environment by asserting that human and environmental ecology ae interrelated. Just as the Church is called to be a voice for the poor, the unborn and the marginalized, Pope Francis challenges each of us to be a voice for all of creation. The inherent worth and dignity of every being should not be at the expense of the throwaway culture.
 
Preservation of our natural resources and care for the earth is an inherent part of our Catholic social teaching. In 1988 Saint John Paul II wrote about “cultivating the garden of the world,” a task that we ‘must carry out in respect for the divine image received.’ In 2007, Pope Benedict wrote that, “Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.”
 

Bishop David J. Walkowiak released a statement on the encyclical:

“I am grateful to the Holy Father for challenging us to act faithfully as good stewards of God’s creation. The encyclical Laudato Si' addresses the interrelatedess of our economy, our environment and our moral call to care for each other. It focuses on the value proper to each creature and the human meaning of ecology while seeking a forthright and honest debate. I look forward to studying this document and discussing how its teachings can be applied in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. In West Michigan we are fortunate to have a strong tradition of cooperation among local government and business to foster a commitment to sustainability of our natural resources. Through the issuance of this important document, Pope Francis builds upon the teaching tradition of the Church as he echoes the concerns and insights of his predecessors.”