June 30, 2020
Care of creation is a topic of great interest. Five years have passed since the publication of the Praised pope Francis, a document that has greatly impressed the world leaders and that has had repercussions in the political field, at the international level, reaffirming that the defence of the environment is not enough if at the same time puts at the centre the dignity of the human being.
Francis urges each of us on the “full conversion”. The earth is home to humans, which is not an intruder, but the only presence that is aware and thus responsible. Man is called to make good use of his knowledge and power. Then, if one of the parties is compromised, the other party suffers as a result. It’s all connected.
The global crisis of the pandemic, in an attempt to find a new normal, a new way of living for believers and non-believers, that has an imperative: to take care urgently of the care of the common house. A commitment that goes from the pollution of the waste to global warming, the overexploitation of resources, climate change, water as a basic right for all, to the ecological debt of the North to the South and finally to the culture of waste. It is a land that is wounded, damaged even from an economy that pursues only profit at the expense of entire populations. It makes us wonder what kind of world we want to leave to the new generations.
“We have continued, undeterred, thinking of to stay healthy in a sick world” urges Pope Francis in the prayer of the world, march 27, at San Pietro, an empty square, invoking the end of the pandemic. The bishop of Rome, unmasks our vulnerability and leaves the discoveries, the false and unnecessary safeties with which we have built our agendas, our plans, our habits and priorities. The new ecology is to be responsible for one other.
The Praised is not a catalog set of solutions to offer or impose. Is the point of the situation in a practical way the duties of our planet. In the Encyclical, the environmental challenge is inseparable from that of education. The person must learn, from the earliest years of life, to grow in awareness of their responsibilities. This means that the act must be sustainable from an ecological point of view, and in solidarity, to begin with in the first place by the family.
The Alphabet the green pope Francis puts us on guard. We are still in time to reverse the rush toward the abyss. But we need a revolution from the bottom up, from the everyday choices: from the moment you go to make the expenditure, the investment of our savings, the cordiality in the relationship with our neighbour. It is time for christians to begin to network, to think in a collective manner, with the awareness that any choice, even the smallest, makes a difference.
We met with Franca Giansoldati, vaticanist journalist in the rome daily Il Messaggero, and author of the new book “the alphabet of The green of pope Francis”.
There seems to be no “plan B” for the survival of the planet and of the human species. Then, five years after the publication of ” Praised be You, the message of pope Francis remains current?
This is the big question. The Praised proves to be almost visionary and enlightened, more than ever, after what we experienced with the Coronavirus. The encyclical gives us a path, asks all people of good will open their eyes and observe what is happening to us and to the planet. In addition, questions us about what kind of future can we give to our children. The revolution that asks us Francis is to start again from the bottom, to have virtuous behaviour and to put into practice in everyday life, to understand that the resources that we have are not infinite. In the past 20 years, we have seen debates, scientific and policy on the environment with the very big difficulty. The COP26 is over evil, was a flop, you cannot find a composition.
In the light of this discourse, as we have to restart it after the pandemic?
The pandemic has forced us to open our eyes, very probably will drive, will grow at various levels the awareness of the problem of the environment that does not have a political color, and can not be addressed nor as an ideology. Pope Francis in the encyclical takes away from the ideological cage, the theme of the environment and stresses that complex problems require solutions complex, but this can be done in the measure in which it will adopt a new approach.
Pope Francis reminds us that the consequences of certain economic decisions, to a certain region of the world, they always have an impact on the opposite side of the planet, and vice versa. After the pandemic, what they can do in the concrete bodies in the world?
The world bodies, unfortunately, a bit’ of time in this part are almost paralyzed. The pandemic made us think. Every economic system, without a health care system that is effective, it collapses. It took a virus to disrupt many economic systems. Francis reminds us that it is not possible to have a system of social and economic that has no cure or put in first place the human being. The encyclical, green has focused on a question that the pandemic has made apparent. No economic system can be said to be safe if you do not care of the health of its citizens. This is true for all the countries of the world. At the base there is a global economic interdependence that no state can do without.
The Encyclical uses the terms “harmony” and “balanced life”. From where we can start in our daily life, to reverse the course of our life-styles?
To think that your action has a repercussion from the other side of the earth, it would seem absurd, but it is not. For example, with the consumption of the plastic we invaded and contaminated other oceans in different parts of the world, entering into the food chains. The high concentration of plastic has increased the global warming. Then, we have to change our style of life: they want us to virtuous conduct, that the awakening of our consciousness, and that will put at the centre the balance between man and the environment. Us for many years we have neglected this balance with the environment because we have always imagined that nothing could be altered. But today we lived on our skin, and we have seen that it is not so.
In reading the book, I was very impressed by his concept of happiness. In practice, you need to find the daily purpose of their lives, which is not necessarily the work or the gain. Then you are happier when you have more money or when you have more friends?
There has been research from Harvard, lasting over 30 years, in which researchers have tried to assess the impact of various factors in the life of every one of the people taken into consideration as a sample. In the end, the conclusion was reached that the people who had a stable relationship, a family, positive, rich, friends, family, and gentle with the next, were the ones that basically were more satisfied and showed also a better health. The man in the industrial era, has a little lost the spiritual dimension. It tends much to previlegiare relations, but it also tends to discard what can be spirituality. That verticality is a quest that not only concerns the christian religion, but also other religions and other philosophies. Happiness is a harmony between the internal and the external, is to be at peace with the world. Happiness is believing in a God for those who have the gift of faith, and for those who don’t has is to try to have happiness in giving to others. There is this research related to the spirituality that often is put aside, and that sometimes is also at the origin of individualism, unhappiness, and depression. As said San Tomasso D’aquino: “Walk with your feet on the ground glancing at the sky.”
Pope Francis has insisted so much – even with us journalists – not to liquidate this document with a narrow definition, an“encyclical ” green”. There is an error of interpretation?
No. Very often it is called the encyclical “green” to simplify, to synthesize and to get the message to those who are not catholic. But we also know that the Praised goes beyond the theme of the environment and focuses on social problems are very deep. It is a theme so challenging and delicate that has been addressed already by other popes in the past, such as Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI; the times evidently were not yet ripe. With the progress of science and at the same time with the increase of the reflections on the inside of the Church on the subject, it was determined that the changes in climate were caused by the hand of man. With pope Francis arrived to a scientific horizon, fairly homogeneous, and the certainty that the hand of man, and the misuse of resources, produce and produce to present strong changes in climate.
The issues posed by pope Francis and the Church are extraordinarily cutting-edge. What is still the hard core in our country that is preventing it to restart after this pandemic?
I think that after the Covid-19 there will be a strong interest on the topic. Before, it was even self-referential. The environmental issues are becoming very popular, they entered the homes of italians with greater force. The pandemic has made us understand that we are interdependent, that if China breaks out an epidemic that affected the rest of the planet. What happened was not the sudden fall of a meteorite from the sky; they are the years that the virologists stress that virus there will be others and that convey also due to exploitation and deforestation. Man does not respect the environment in which he lives, and substantially alter the balance of nature. I am optimistic, but at the same time I can see that after the pandemic, there is a greater participation of the people to care for the environment, we talk about it more, and surely there will be more spaces in all areas of life dedicated to the themes of the be Praised.