The world is facing ecological, social, and healthcare crises, but it is vital to remember that “crises are also windows of opportunity,” Pope Francis has said.
Writing in the foreword to the e-book “Laudato si’ Reader. An Alliance of Care for Our Common Home,” the pope noted that the world’s challenges had multiplied since the publication of his environmental encyclical in 2015.
He wrote: “The ‘Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor’ that I present in Laudato si’ as the emblematic consequence of our failure to care for our common home has been amplified lately by the COVID-19 emergency that humanity is still struggling to control.”
“Thus, an ecological crisis, represented by the ‘cry of the earth,’ and a social crisis, represented by ‘the cry of the poor,’ have been made deadly by a healthcare crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic …”
“Nevertheless, let us not forget that crises are also windows of opportunity: they are a chance to recognize and to learn from past mistakes.”
The preface, published by Vatican News on Oct. 31, appears in a volume issued in print by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in conjunction with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), currently taking place in Glasgow, Scotland.
The e-book will be available for free download from Nov. 12 on the website of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
The text also features an introductory message by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, a Catholic who served as Portugal’s prime minister from 1995 to 2002.
He wrote: “This is a moment of truth. If we persist with the old ways of inequality, injustice, hatred, and heedless dominion over the Earth, we face disaster. Just as we need a ceasefire on traditional battlefields, so must we end our war on nature…”
“Making peace with nature must be a priority for the 21st century. The recovery from the pandemic offers a chance to pull back from the abyss.”
In his preface, the pope said that the new e-book marked “a fitting conclusion” to the Laudato si’ Anniversary Year, which ended on May 24 this year.
He also expressed joy at the encyclical’s “positive impact” within the Catholic Church, other Christian communities, and religious groups.
“The present crisis should make us ‘turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it,’” he wrote, quoting Laudato si’.
“They are also a time for us to change gear, to change bad habits in order to be able to dream, co-create, and act together to realize just and equitable futures.”
“It is time to develop a new form of universal solidarity that is grounded in fraternity, love, and mutual understanding: one that values people over profit, one that seeks new ways to understand development and progress. And so, it is my hope and prayer that we do not come out of this crisis the same way we entered it.”