‘Laudato Si’ – condensed version

The full text of Laudato Si’ is available at http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2015/06/praise-be-to-you-my-lord/
However, at nearly 40.000 words, I think it’s realistic to suggest that only a small minority of people will read the full letter, especially when it’s not yet available in hard copy and must be downloaded (and printed for reading – I find it difficult to read long documents on screen).
I’ve done a condensed version of about 7,000 words, to encourage people to try it, and then perhaps to refer to the full text for more on each section where desired.
It’s attached in two Word versions:

  • A4 Short Guide, with the condensed version on regular A4 pages, which could then be adjusted for printing as required. Download Here  Laudato Si Short Guide A4
  • The Short Guide in booklet form. This is laid out on A4 pages, folded and stapled in centre, for anyone who has a printer which will print both sides of the page. It comes out as a 16-page booklet on four A4 sheets printed both sides. You’ll see the layout design on screen. Download Here Laudato Si Short Guide Booklet

I am making these available  to encourage wider reading.
Of course, people may argue about what I’ve left out and what I’ve put in, but I had to select!
Pádraig McCarthy

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  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    I read most of the encyclical, and I think an abridged version is a valuable service. Longwindedness is the bane of church documents ever since Gaudium et Spes.
    Meanwhile the encyclical undercuts itself by its blithe dismissal of the population explosion.

  2. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    There are some confused bits of translation in the full English version of the Encyclical. For example, the quote from Romano Guardini’s The End of the Modern World (1965) in paragraph 203. Perhaps someone has the English version of the book and could supply a more coherent translation.
    Some have reservations about the question of climate change, and/or about the value of world government; but it’s all part of the debate and dialogue that needs to take place urgently.
    Joe O’Leary @1 refers to “the population explosion”. The New York Times on 31 May 2015 has an article on how the predictions of a population bomb predicted by Paul Ehrlich in 1968 may be seen differently today: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/us/the-unrealized-horrors-of-population-explosion.html?_r=0
    The World Bank at http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN has a table of fertility rates. Replacement rate would be 2.1 births per woman in her lifetime. Many developed countries are well below this, including Germany (1.4), Japan (1.4). EU is 1.5. Ireland is highest in the Europe at 2.0. Hong Kong and Macau are lowest at 1.1. Niger is highest at 7.6. The birth rate in developing countries need to be assessed also by considering high death rates. Germany, Japan, China, Italy and other countries are facing serious demographic and economic problems in the coming years with not enough workers, not enough carers for sick and elderly etc. Pope Francis has expressed concern about the demographic situation in Europe.
    Perhaps, Joe, since you live in Japan, you can fill in the picture for us there.

  3. Joe O'Leary says:

    Padraig, there is a group of young people in Japan led successively by an 18 year old and a 17 year old girl whose slogan is “why should we be spending money on people whose days are numbered?” — I foresee a lot of such revolt of youth against aged baby-boomers — on the premise that “you created our problems so don’t call on us to solve your problems”.
    I saw hundreds of undernourished children living on a huge refuse heap in Manila (“Smoky Mountain”) and I understand that such mountains are now found in other Filipino cities as well. Francis and his bishops have been fanatical advocates of NFP as the only licit method of population control in that country. Francis did advert to the problem in rather offensive lingo when he said Catholics should not breed like rabbits.
    The UN says that if soil degradation continues Africa will soon be able to support only 25% of its population. Francis in his encyclical seems to say that the problem can be solved ONLY by ecological improvement with NO reference to population control.
    Already we see a huge immigration crisis, whole boatloads of people drowning in the Mediterranean, Filipinos and Africans desperate to find a home elsewhere.
    To deny that there is a population problem is much the same thing as to deny that there is a problem of global warming — in both cases it is perfectly possible to keep up the denial strategy forever. By his population denial Francis is undercutting his own prophetic warnings on the other front.

  4. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    Joe @3:
    My apologies – it seems I was not clear in what I wrote. I have not denied that there is a population problem. Rather, we need to examine two population “problems” – the one commonly spoken of, that of unsustainable high birth rates, and the one of unsustainable low birth rates.
    I do not think Francis is in “population denial”. I think he wishes to draw attention to both. In the emphasis on the needs of the poor, it seems to be the case that as people are set free from poverty, they reduce the size of their families. But it must not be the case that we slip into the opposite problem.
    You refer to “a group of young people in Japan led successively by an 18 year old and a 17 year old girl whose slogan is ‘why should we be spending money on people whose days are numbered?’” Perhaps this is a symptom of the situation, where smaller numbers of young working people, due to the very low birth rate, have the responsibility of providing for larger numbers of older people who are retired, ill, etc. Could this be the motivation behind what you refer to?
    A report in the UK Guardian on 18 April (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/18/japanese-population-falls-to-15-year-low) says: “The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 33 million and now outnumber those aged 14 or younger by two to one… Japan’s rapidly greying population poses a major headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for the growing number of pensioners… Japan’s population is forecast to drop to some 86.7 million in 2060 with the proportion of people aged 65 or over estimated to reach nearly 40% of the total, the government has warned.”
    Have you come across serious concern expressed in Japan about their demographic forecasts?

  5. Joe O'Leary says:

    John Paul IIi referred clearly to the two population problems, natality crisis in some northern hemisphere countries — and yes, Japan is very concerned about this — and overpopulation in some southern hemisphere (and Asian) countries (Sollicitudo rei socialis).

  6. Con Devree says:

    The logic regarding Japan is that a subsequent lower rate of population growth would result in the next generation of teens targeting a still lower age group for abandonment.
    In most poor countries the problem of poverty is not insufficient provision of goods per se but bad governance, bad politics, bad administration, and corruption. The bulk of those dying or surviving in the Mediterranean come from such backgrounds. The rate of their acceptance by some countries indicates how they are necessary to ward off the approaching demographic winters, and avoid, among other things the toxic Japanese teenage syndrome.
    As regards soil erosion in Africa, during my three-year sojourn there a few decades ago, I observed thousands of square miles of virgin, arable, productive territory. Even then there were reports from sub-Saharan Africa of over use, again driven by bad governance, politics, etc.
    The overall levels of poverty in the third world are reducing on foot of improved commerce and trade and of course better political administration.
    There is plenty of room in the world for the world’s population and plenty resources to support it. What is lacking is respect for human dignity especially at the UN. In Europe and the US we have been deliberately under producing food. If the resources are not shared with the needy, the needy will come looking for the resources. That is the historical experience whenever such travel was possible as it is today.
    As experience in China illustrates, population growth control in a creation of discordant harmonies is a complicated business. In those countries where birth rates persist below replacement level for a few generations, immigrants become necessary. Note the UK. Also empirical evidence shows that as populations achieve certain levels of economic structure and performance the people control birth rates themselves. NFP is one of the most reliable methods and its promotion by the Catholic Church does not result in poverty.
    For the individual Catholic, the relevant message is in Matthew 25; 31ff. Simply, if one ignores the needs of the poor one will go to hell. One of course can invent one’s own form of Catholicism and argue from that, among other things to justify the self-absorption attributed to some Japanese teens.

  7. Con Devree says:

    Response to Lloyd Allan McPherson, June 19 “Caring for our Common home.”
    I think it is necessary to clean up the planet. And we have cleaned up a lot of it. The technological competence can be developed to clean up many disaster areas but it will take time.
    In terms of the impact of environmental exploitation on the future, we simply do not know how many generations there will be, what technology will be available to them, or even whether there will be a future generation. What we do know is that the earth, plus the human intelligence on it, is adequate to provide for the human race as it is, if it so willed. We simply do not know how to calculate the needs of future generations so that we can reasonably restrict our development now accordingly. It is not possible.
    Plus, modernity, with all its new found eschatological overtones, means withdrawing ourselves from any concept of a nature related to a creator. With no sense of any teleology, we become free to make of ourselves or the things that exist whatever we want them to be. We are now “making” our own salvation history that decides on the care of the ongoing earth as our principle occupation as human beings, in effect controlling the latter through postulating a “scarcity” of natural resources. Machiavelli would have been proud of devising such a “presupposition” on which to base absolute power over ordinary human beings.
    So how does the new super humanity agree (= agree) on an appropriate course of development when we are ignorant of the future and are not in possession of all the possible current evidence? Note the current intergovernmental dragging of feet on the issue.
    Consider one of many complications. If push comes of shove on the question, is it necessary to preserves all species of plants, insects, birds, and animals as they are when we know that many other species had disappeared before the first man, with no known disadvantage to humanity?
    In other words what is this world about? What is humankind about? Is it just the ongoing presence of the species over time? And if Individuals are required to keep the species in existence who referees the contest between the advocates of higher and lower world populations? Who decides on who is to be eliminated to guarantee the health of the species?
    One question posed indirectly by the encyclical is if we accept the limits of this view. Traditional Christianity would not agree that the size and growth of human numbers cannot be met by the combination of available natural resources and human enterprise. It would also point out that each person of the species exists for a transcendent purpose, that the purpose of the earth is not the keeping of the species going on and on down the ages.
    Yes clean up the planet, and muddle along some global cooling process until the situation is clearer. But perhaps remember the real drama of the universe lies with the “natural resource” that is man. Perhaps the availability of resources is itself subject to the human mind’s understanding of them. Should we not consider that a politics based on the presumed scarcity of resources is itself self-fulfilling? Can we assume that future human knowledge and capacity will be pretty much as they are now?

  8. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    So we know that population is a factor. We also know that the poorer states with high birth rates contribute far less to greenhouse gases than the developed world. Francis is clear that the worst polluters owe a debt to those who contribute least. Ireland per head produces about 80 times what the people of Ethiopia produce.
    How do we get our politicians to take it seriously? There’s a comic strip at http://ncronline.org/blogs/francis-chronicles/francis-comic-strip-131 with a suggestion. Francis muses: “If only we could get the attention of those who could really make a difference on climate change!” Well then: “Tell them all the golf courses are going to dry up!”
    Humour, yes, but with a serious point: when it has a personal impact.

  9. Kevin Walters says:

    There is a malaise within the hearts of many when they contemplate the effects of global pollution and is it any wonder that cynicism has taken hold of many ordinary people, we feel powerless and distrustful of established institutions.
    And this most certainly applies to the leaders of our Church as many no longer look for guidance or on matters within their competence, credibility has been lost, serving the Truth is secondary as seen in the handling of child abuse crisis also our most fundamental belief that God’s Word is in violate has been breached by those who sit at the top table in Rome (The Divine mercy Image).
    Many outside of the Church see the Church as a worldly organisation manipulating the truth for own ends many none believers look at it and from within their hearts ridicule its hypocrisy and in so doing can easily justify their own self-serving actions.
    In the West we talk about our democracy but the reality is that many “Leaders” in all walks of life serve themselves they have their own hidden agendas and appease their own Circle of influence; they survive through fear and self-interest. To step outside of the group, you run the risk of becoming a victim and to do this takes courage and integrity.
    Can anyone on the Site answer any of this questions?
    Where can mankind look to see integrity at play, the Truth been served?
    If it cannot be seen in the Vatican and by implication Pope Francis, where?
    If the leaders of our Church cannot do this that HOPE is there for mankind?
    Our church is stale the fundamental teaching that God’s Word is inviolate has been compromised
    The Church needs to regain her moral authority but to do this it would have to humble its self, is it beyond the leaders of the Church to acknowledge their own failings with honesty before mankind?
    We need a more spiritual Church dedicated to serving the Truth if a new dawn is to break within our Church.
    The essence of Love is Truth, and those who serve the Truth on the spiritual plain feed the hungry “Man hall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”,
    Clothes (Protects) the naked “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me”. Visit those hearts ensnared (Imprisoned) by evil in setting the captive free.
    The serving of the Truth over laps on to the worldly plain as it protects the weak and vulnerable form exploitation in opposing oppression, misery and inhumanity, to serve the Truth is to love ones neighbour as oneself it cannot be faked as it always involves carrying ones cross.
    A church for the poor is not enough (although good in itself) as it side steps the full spectrum of Truth which confronts evil on both the spiritual plain and worldly plain.
    Our church is stale, nominal programs of enterprise, will not bring about the changes needed
    The thought of Jesus Christ needs to be permutated within the hearts of mankind that fulfil all his yearnings, including that of global warming (Pollution), we need fresh hope, in that his life, death and victory has brought all mankind to a higher and completely new stage.
    Then mankind will see the real cause for not dealing with global warming is because of the pollution (Evil) that resides in men’s hearts.
    We need to see UNITY OF PURPOSE from our Shepherds in holding the bright lamp of Truth high giving HOPE to all of mankind in seeing the Truth of the Gospels actually working and then in this hope mankind may just find the courage to face the reality of his own nature and deal honestly with global warming.
    Jesus speaks to all of us in these His last Words before His crucifixion
    “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed. ‘”Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US for if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry”
    We are not to weep not for him, but weep for our own sins, and the sins of our children, which caused his death; and weep for fear of the miseries we shall bring upon ourselves, if we slight his love, and reject his teachings.
    Please also consider reading my post on this Site. The Challenges Facing COP 20
    In Christ

  10. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    And Con, “We simply do not know how to calculate the needs of future generations so that we can reasonably restrict our development now accordingly. It is not possible.”
    I’m going to assume they will get by with clean water, clean air and an unpoisoned earth. Eliminating coastal nuclear sites might be a good idea too.
    “We are now “making” our own salvation history that decides on the care of the ongoing earth as our principle occupation as human beings, in effect controlling the latter through postulating a “scarcity” of natural resources. Machiavelli would have been proud of devising such a “presupposition” on which to base absolute power over ordinary human beings.”
    Is that what we are doing? That’s really self-centered. India and China have access to the largest supply and purest water in the world. Yet somehow they are in a bit of a water crisis. Scarcity is not an issue there. It’s a clean water issue. The absolute power over human beings you refer to is really the power we hold over the coming generations because we jumped into the technology/consumerism race and a few folks got rich quick. That’s all. Once we started to treat humans as “spenders”, we got into this mess pretty quick and it has gone downhill since then. A politics based on the scarcity of resources…no, don’t think this is what it is. This is the Earth not a politic. We have to treat her nice or else she’ll show us some “blow back”. If you don’t have ultimate respect for her, really, you don’t have respect for anything. Living in nature with healthy injections of regulated clean technology is a simple strategy. How it is unleashed on the planet in a fever pitch is another story? What is the strategy, Con – seems like you have all the reasons cornered on why this is not going to happen.

  11. Kevin Walters says:

    @Joe O’Leary & Pádraig McCarthy
    I would like to suggest a way forward with Humanae Vitae which has the potential to increase the Christian birth rate in the West while at the same time permitting some flexibility for those living in abject poverty and those with serious personal problems HIV etc. I have made a long Post on the ACI perhaps you would consider reading it.
    5th Post down, 30th June 2015 at 4:21 pm
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

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