Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, distinguished representatives of the media, all who are following by radio and television and on internet, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, First of all, I greet all of you warmly on behalf of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which is honoured to have been called to assist the Holy Father in his teaching ministry by helping to prepare the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’.
A very cordial welcome to the presenters, who are:
– His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Pergamo, John Zizioulas, representing the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, who will speak to us of the theology and spirituality with which the Encyclical opens and closes.
– Prof. John Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He represents the natural sciences, with which the Encyclical enters into in-depth dialogue. Congratulations on his nomination as a full member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which also contributed significantly to the Encyclical.
– Prof. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services and former dean of the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame University. She represents the economic, financial, business and commercial sectors whose responses to the major environmental challenges are so crucial.
– The teacher Valeria Martano, from Rome, has taught in the outlying areas of Rome for 20 years. She is a witness of human and environmental degradation as well as such “best practices” as are a sign of hope.
Their presence and what they say will remind us that, from the very beginning, the Encyclical Laudato si’ on care for our common home brings into dialogue all people, organizations and institutions that share this same concern. They address different perspectives, but the world situation leads us to discover that these perspectives are ever more intertwined and complementary: the riches of faith and of spiritual tradition, the seriousness of scientific research, the concrete efforts at various levels, all for an equitable and sustainable development.
“When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. Getting to the reasons why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society, its economy, its behaviour
patterns, the ways it grasps reality, and so forth. Given the scale of change, it is no longer possible to find a specific, discrete answer for each part of the problem. It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions that consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and
environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the underprivileged, and at the same time protecting nature”.
~ Pope Francis
The individual presentations are contained in the attached pdf. Scroll down the pdf for English translations.