tFr. Damian Howard, a Jesuit and a lecturer at Heythrop College, University of London gave a talk on the papal encyclical 'Laudato Si', illustrating how Pope Francis deals not with the abstract, but with the concrete, with real life. Environmental issues are not only for the attention of the media, of political leaders and international organizations, as they also effect our everyday choices and living conditions.
Making use of modern technology and of the political structures that we have at our disposal so as to create an international strategy for the protection of nature will not be sufficient: the answer to our environmental problems lies in our own personal conversion, a conversion to which the Gospel is calling us - with more urgency now than ever before.
The examples given by Damian underlined how seemingly unrelated areas, such as business, religion, and technology, are in fact closely interwoven and interdependent. Our awareness of such relationships allows us to look at the current environmental situation as something that we are all personally responsible for. We cannot change the world alone; everyone is called to play their own part, however great or small.
Damian pointed out that in addition to providing careful analysis of the socio-economic causes of the ecological crisis, 'Laudato Si' also contains significant passages addressing the spiritual dimension of the problem. It calls us to a renewed appreciation for creation, to a contemplation that is rooted in biblical tradition and Eucharistic in its approach, to save us from the technocratic paradigm in which we find ourselves living, which sees the total subordination of nature to the meet and serve the demands of profit and production, that will eventually lead us to destruction if unchecked.
We were encouraged to read 'Laudato Si', to reflect on its content and to pray - a process that can bring real transformation to our lives and to our culture.
The Autumn Talks draw to a close on Monday 23rd of November with Henry Longbottom SJ,
"How do we put Laudato Si into Practice? From Environmental Advocacy to Greening Church Buildings."