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as well as the Church, continues throughout the Encyclical, and finds expression in two final prayers, the first, “A prayer for our earth,” for all who believe in the Creator, and the second “A Christian prayer in union with creation,” for those who embrace God the Trinity (LS 246).

and fraternity” (LS 201). In Chapter Four, where Francis makes concrete suggestions about ways forward to the world political community, he describes them explicitly as “paths of dialogue” (LS 163).

“to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God” (LS 8).

In his second chapter, Pope Francis turns to the Bible to articulate a theology of the whole of creation as one interrelated community before God. The biblical texts point to the goodness of the whole of creation and testify that other creatures have value in themselves, because they are loved and cared for by God. The Psalms sing of the community of all creatures joined together in praising God. In this biblical vision, all have their own place and their own meaning. Each creature is an expression in the world of divine love. Pope Francis sees humans as part of this community of creation and human life as grounded in three relationships: “with God, with our neighbour, and with the earth itself” (LS 66). We are interrelated with all other creatures as our brothers and sisters. “Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother son, sister moon, brother river and mother earth” (LS 92).

In terms of content, Francis points to the contributions of scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups from whom the Church has learnt. He points particularly to other Christian churches and to other religions with whom he makes common cause. As a particular example he holds up the ‘beloved’ Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Church, who has long drawn attention to the spiritual roots of our ecological crisis and who teaches that “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God” (LS 8). Francis sees the religions of the world as called “to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect

The universal communion of creation

THE FRANCIS EFFECT II: PRAISED BE YOU – ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

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Profile for Catholic Mission

The Francis Effect II - Praised Be You - On Care for our Common Home  

Twelve prominent Catholic leaders from various sectors and ministries of the Australian Church offer their perspectives on Pope Francis’ enc...

The Francis Effect II - Praised Be You - On Care for our Common Home  

Twelve prominent Catholic leaders from various sectors and ministries of the Australian Church offer their perspectives on Pope Francis’ enc...

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