Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

10-22-2023Pastor's CornerVery Rev. Robert J. Deehan, VF

On October 4, Pope Francis published a follow-up to his Encyclical, Laudato Si, entitled Laudate Deum. After eight years since the initial publication of Laudato Si, Pope Francis once again makes a prophetic call to conversion in light of the looming challenges of the climate crisis that have only worsened. Laudate Deum addresses people of goodwill, admonishing the human family that has neglected its relationships with creation, one another, and above all, God – calling all people to repentance and reparation.

Areas covered by Laudate Deum include the global climate crisis. Pope Francis begins with the facts. “Our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point,” he writes, pointing to overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is the result of human activity.

While many continue to deny the climate crisis or look the other way in favor of profit and productivity, Pope Francis calls us all to remember the connectedness of everything and that salvation is communal. He offers a critique of the technocratic paradigm, which he describes as the belief that goodness and truth come directly from advances in technology and the growth of economic power. However, he sees that this provides the illusion that it is possible to invent solutions to the climate crisis without examining the underlying spiritual and economic problems that brought the world to this point. Those advancements tell us little about how they are actually to be used, and most often, the question is not “Should it be done?” but only “Is it possible?” Pope Francis recalls that the human person is also a part of creation, and cannot be separated from it, no matter how powerful scientific developments become. Another issue the pope highlights is the weakness of international politics. He notes that governments do little to provide real guidance, let alone constructive legislation, and he laments the lack of cooperation between countries to address the climate crisis. Laudate Deum envisions remedies that begin not in the centers of power but in the grassroots. “It is no longer helpful for us to support institutions in order to preserve the rights of the more powerful without caring for those of all,” particularly the marginalized who have been exploited.

He cites progress and failure of climate conferences where too often, wealthy and powerful countries put their own interests ahead of the global common good and are not held accountable, and little action and progress result. He points out that the crisis is now too dire to ignore the need for substantial change. The problems are deeper than environmental concerns—they are social and political, concerning everyone. In the concluding section, Pope Francis offers the image of a community on pilgrimage - united by God to each other and all of creation; we walk a journey of conversion that turns from the sinful degradation of the earth and towards faithfulness to God, the creator of all things. He states that we cannot take God’s place. A Christian response to the climate crisis is not about recycling or buying an electric car, it is about renouncing the unlimited removal of natural resources from other countries and overconsumption. He is inviting the whole Church to a renewed vision of community and solidarity, where Catholics are willing to stand alongside their poor and exploited brothers and sisters as prophets of another better world. This is a summary of the article, Laudate Deum: An Overview from the website The Jesuit Post by Nat Cortas, SJ (Oct. 10, 2023). To read the whole document, visit:

God bless you!

Fr. Bob