February Editorial – A New Conversation about Creation
On 2nd and 3rd December last year, a unique gathering took place in the Vatican when TIME and Fortune magazine brought a large group of private-sector leaders, scholars, foundation heads and social reformers together with Pope Francis to explore the momentous challenge he has presented to the Church and the world in his encyclical Laudato Si’. In the words of Nancy Gibbs, TIME editor, ‘Pope Francis has a way of taking eternally complex subjects and yanking them down to earth, where ideas and action conspire to improve lives.’ As the majority of people in the world continue to grow poorer, urgent questions are being asked of the elites and institutions which maintain the status quo. Pope Francis’ concern about global poverty, environmental degradation and the growing wealth gap between rich and poor encapsulated in Laudato Si’ is resonating for the 21st-century human family and inspiring many within and beyond the traditional Catholic community to begin a new conversation about creation as the links between climate change, poverty reduction and education reform are being redefined. At the heart of creation is the human person and especially the one who is suffering because of exploitation or neglect.
In his address to the gathering, Pope Francis called for ‘a new social compact’ with concrete ideas and action and a readiness to listen to the voices of the poor and transform social and economic structures so that the centrality and dignity of the human person remains paramount.
As the theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week (29 January–4 February), Laudato Si’ offers both inspiration, hope and the genesis of a roadmap to the coming generation who will need each of them in abundance to deal with the challenges currently presented to their future and that of the planet.
Fr Paul Clayton-Lea