Laudato Si requires Contemplation and conversion: Cardinal Turkson

By Nonhlanhla Ngwenya  

During his visit to Zimbabwe Cardinal Peter Turkson, graced the new Jesuit University, Arrupe Jesuit University, where he revived the country’s commitment to in-depth discussions on Laudato Si.

Laudato Si (Praise be to you, my Lord) is an encyclical letter on ecology, climate change and care for creation, released by Pope Francis in June 2015.

His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson advised that the best way to go through the encyclical is to apply 7Cs, continuity, collegiality, conversation, confessing, conversion, citizenship and contemplation.

Cardinal Turkson said though authored by Pope Francis, Laudato Si is a continuity of what other popes before taught on matters of environmental justice.

The encyclical quotes a teaching by Pope John Paul urging humanity to care for the environment.

“Humanity should develop and safeguard the environment. Another Pope who taught on the is subject matter was Pope Benedict, he expanded on ecology to include society, peace and wellbeing which has come to be known as Integral Ecology.”

Collegiality. Cardinal Peter Turkson expressed that the Holy Father doesn’t only quote the past popes however he also quotes the Bishops from all over the world as well as inviting the Bishops to help in teaching this.

He went on to mention that the essence for the encyclical is to open lines for conversation, for dialogue.

“I have great interest in the good will of humanity to do good, come let us together find a solution,” he quoted.

His eminence pointed out that dialogue to find ways out of the problems of ecology is a global public good.

Confessing our care for creation. Care for creation is which takes attention in the encyclical. The word stewardship is only used twice in the encyclical however the word care is a constant feature

He mentioned that Conversion has to be a step after confessing care for humanity. “There is a need to change attitude towards the environment as well as change of lifestyle. The Pope calls this conversion, ecological conversion and it involves tackling issues of deforestation, pollution of seas and activities like mining.”

Citizenship compliments ecological conversion. Humanity is integrated with creation and ecology, humans having come from mother earth. There is a greater need for teaching on ecological citizenship.

Cardinal Turkson added that the Holy Father invites the world to contemplate with creation. The contemplation inspires a prayer to for the work of creation hence Laudato Si.

Responding on whether the encyclical has sings on success so far, His Eminence said ‘it has been very successful as there has been a lot of feedback even from non-Catholic organisations and individuals.”

He said the encyclical is being quoted in all sectors of life by scientists, politicians and that Laudato Si has given the church a new voice.

The success of the encyclical has also attracted an award to the Pope from a French civil group, however the Holy Father turned it down citing that what he did is for global common good.

In closing His Eminence pointed out that the Pope did not write the encyclical on climate change but on integral ecological though there is a part on climate it. The encyclical paints the picture of the interrelation between nature and humans and how we as humans should care for our common home.



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