.Liam Hayes, a theological adviser to CAFOD and colleague of Dr John Flannery ( Heythrop College – Theology & Philosophy – University of London) gave a study on Pope Francis’s ground-breaking Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si’- on Christian Responsibility for the care of creation and justice for the poor on Saturday 30th of January from 10:00 to 16:00 Hrs at St Nicholas of Tolentino Bristol.
Andy Buckley – a volunteer at the CAFOD Clifton office attended the event – here is his report.
Around 36 people from around the Clifton Diocese attended the Study, shared their experience, opinions and concerns and shared lunch together. They partook in several exercises detailed below, and the Study day finished with Mass celebrated with father Michael McKay – who also attended the study sessions.
In essence Laudato Si (Care for our Common Home is the English translation) is a matter of the human race redefining our notion of what is meant by Progress. Progress is NOT a growth in GDP a common economic measure of Progress. Progress is NOT a world where the poor get poorer, Progress is NOT the World being severely polluted by mankind, and Progress is NOT the throw away mentality and gross consumerism that seems to pervade humanity.
The study day took the following format:-
- Contemplation on what is good in the world and in our life including EXERCISE 1 Define your dream home
- A Litany on changing the way we view things – response “journey with us”
- A discussion on the structure of Laudato Si – how it is meant not to give all the answers but provide the framework for the conversation – “another world” is necessary but framed by the reign of God. Laudato Si was actually used as a framework for discussion at the Paris Climate change summit.
- I learned Pope Francis uses a great “new word” to define the way mankind these days never seems to have enough time and is always too busy, too busy to act on Climate change , too busy to end extreme poverty and so on. He calls this disease “RAPIDIFICATION”
- EXERCISE 2 – Define the symptoms of “what is wrong with the current “progress” of the world and then discuss some of the Root Causes of these symptoms. Create a picture of Symptoms and Root causes and give a title to the picture. In the group I was part of our title for the picture was “Indifference” – our discussion are shown in the picture below.
EXERCISE 3 – This was the exercise I found most difficult. First you had to create a list of what you would do differently in our new definition of “Progress”; differently as defined by myself, my family, my community, my country and finally my world. After that we had to answer the question “What resources would help me to do things differently” This really made you think.
- EXERCISE 4 – The final exercise of the day was to find a way to express “My renewed understanding of Progress is…….” This could take the form of a prayer, a song, a list of MUST DOs, a letter to your grandchildren etc. Two attendees stood out here – Amelia with a prayer that focused on less of “me,me,me” and linked success to the grace of God. Another attendee Sue wrote a letter to her Grandchildren that talked about What kind of world we want to leave to those that come after us. I myself came up with a bulleted list which I will share with you below
I believe in a new definition of progress that:-
- Ensures inter-generational justice
- Is Positively biased towards reducing extreme poverty
- Significantly reduces the causes of Climate Change
- Preserves Bio-Diversity much more aggressively that at present
- Increase the long term accountability of those in Authority and reduces short-termism
- Affirms that “we are all connected” and affected by each other’s actions
- Rebalances the need for Technology for Technologies sake. Technology is not neutral in its effects on people.
- Increases the dialog amongst Super Powers who should lead by good example
- Considers a 100 year plan for the planet
- Makes everyone think about every action and ask “is this for the common good?”
- Creates a bigger sense of “Community” than exists in many developed countries today.
- Truly values Creation.
To download a Laudo Si Study Guide click on the Link below
Free Laudato Si Study DVDs are also available via shop.cafod.org.uk, and there is also a Special Laudato Si Animation for children available at the link below:-