Seattle U and Laudato Si

Pope Francis made history on June 18, 2015, when he issued Laudato Si , his encyclical on the environment. In the long-anticipated papal document, Francis challenges humankind to take responsibility for the planet and particularly to be mindful of those who are suffering most from the ecological crisis now before us. 

"(With the encyclical) Pope Francis puts a human face on the issue of climate change," SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., told KING 5 News. "The pope is asking us where really are you in terms of your heart and your connection with the earth? And is that part of your relationships with others and the poor especially."

The pope is addressing climate change as "a moral imperative," says Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, associate professor of theology and religious studies and director of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture. "Pope Francis has given us the profound gift of drawing our attention as a church and as a world community to our vocation to care for all  the earth, especially the most vulnerable." 

Laudato Si resonates in a special way with Seattle University. The healing and stewardship of our planet is fundamental to the university's Jesuit Catholic mission of building a just and humane world. 

SU's established leadership in advancing environmental justice and sustainability is evident in its academic programs, co-curricular offerings and operations. In the spirit of the pope's encyclical the university is deepening its commitment to educating students as thoughtful caretakers of creation while working to reduce its carbon footprint. 

Laudato Si Facts

  • Laudato Si is an encyclical from Pope Francis. Encyclicals represent the authoritative stanch from the Church that Catholics and humans around the world are meant to consider for their everyday lives.[1]
  • Laudato Si was not meant to just be about climate change, but a criticism of consumerism and social injustice It addresses the water crisis, loss of biodiversity, global inequality, and consumerism[2]
  • Most encyclicals are addressed to leadership and members of the Catholic church, however Pope Francis addressed Laudato Si to all people[2]

At Seattle University

In The Community

  • Formed by USCCB, Catholic Climate Covenant now has 16 national partners including USCCB, CRS, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Health Association, congregations of religious men and women, and other national organizations. It creates resources on Laudato Si’, care for creation, environmental justice and help for parishes.
  • The Global Catholic Climate Movement serves the Catholic family worldwide to turn Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical into action for climate justice by undergoing our own ecological conversion, transforming our lifestyles and calling for bold public policies together with the wider climate movement. Mostly focused on mobilization, but also has advocacy and educational resources, a weekly blog that includes Catholic voices from around the world, diocesan and parish initiatives, videos, and more.
  • Sponsored by 21 Catholic religious communities, the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center works for justice in the church and in the world through education, advocacy and organizing on a variety of social justice issues. IPJC has created resources for religious communities, parishes and interfaith partners on creation care including Stations of the Cross with All of Creation, Care for all Creation and, most recently, Climate Change: Our Call to Conversion, which includes a supplement on Laudato Si’. Many issues IPJC’s quarterly Justice Journal A Matter of Spirit have focused on environmental issues such as energy, sustainability, climate, water and environmental justice. IPJC is available for presentations and trainings on creation care.
  • Earth Ministry engages the faith community on environmental stewardship and also houses the Washington chapter of Interfaith Power & Light. They lead legislative advocacy efforts on the state and national level on environmental issues such as advocacy days at the state capitol, public hearings, meetings with elected officials, and media. They also have a Greening Congregations certification program, the first of its kind in the country. This program helps places of worship “green” various aspects of church life through consultation, workshops and other efforts.

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