LAUDATO SI: ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME
On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis issued ‘Laudato Si’, On the Care of our Common Home’ a timely, comprehensive, and inspiring encyclical with an urgent call to action to address the climate and justice crises threatening the planet, crises widely recognized as defining characteristics of our times and a serious threat to our future. He calls upon every person on the planet, the whole human community, to take up this urgent set of challenges, recognizing the profound religious and moral imperatives they present.
Pope Francis states forcefully and clearly that facing these challenges will require profound changes in lifestyles, myths and mental paradigms, models of production and consumption, cultural assumptions and values, and the consolidated social and political structures that govern society today. All of this presents extraordinary educational and spiritual challenges.
Catholic Higher Education, then, has a vital and challenging role to play in shaping and informing the serious educational and moral dialogues that must take place to respond to this call, to address these crises. Higher educational institutions globally must seek to provide influential leadership in discovering new and life-giving paths to address the pressing emergencies of climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty and in uncovering new paths to achieving peace, justice and environmental sustainability for the whole human family and the entire family of creation.
As leaders of Catholic Higher Education around the world, we thank Pope Francis for his strong and courageous leadership in addressing the interrelated crises and ways of life threatening Earth in our times. His leadership inspires our own.
Grounded in our unwavering commitment to Truth, to rigorous and proven scientific research of the highest quality, to education in knowledge and critical thinking that forms and empowers future leaders dedicated to universal Christian values and to serving the global common good,
We commit ourselves as leaders in Catholic Higher Education to work together regionally and globally, through all the means available to and appropriate for our colleges and universities as institutions of higher learning, to study, promote, and act on the ideals and vision of integral ecology laid out by Pope Francis.
More specifically, we commit ourselves as leaders in Catholic Higher Education globally to integrate care for the planet, integral human development, and concern for the poor within our research projects, our educational curricula and public programming, our institutional infrastructures, policies and practices, and our political and social involvements as colleges and universities.
Through this research, education, and institutional engagement, we will take up the vital roles proper to higher education in the formation of global ecological citizens and in fostering the open, honest national and international dialogues Pope Francis calls for.
We acknowledge and embrace these moral and religious imperatives to work for a world characterized by global social justice and solidarity which the Gospels, Catholic Social Tradition, and now Pope Francis lay out before us and to which they call us so strongly to dedicate our lives, our work, our energies and our resources.