On the Path to Caring for Our Common Home

It’s been five years since Pope Francis’ encyclical on Climate Change, Laudato Si, was released. To mark its anniversary, back on June 18, the Vatican presented a new document entitled “On the Path to Caring for Our Common Home: Five Years after Laudato Si’”. The document, which has not yet been widely disseminated or translated into English, can be thought of as a user guide to Laudato Si. (This article is based on several articles I have read in Catholic publications that have discussed this exciting new document.)

Where Laudato Si explores the underpinnings of climate change, what the crisis means for our common home (the earth), the human roots of climate change, climate justice, and general approaches to take, the encyclical is somewhat lacking in terms of practical and specific advice on how to turn the tide. In contrast, On the Path to Caring for Our Common Home is full of practical examples on how to implement the teachings of Laudato Si.

The text has advice for parishes, public officials, and individuals and shares concrete measures to reverse climate change, such as education, water conservation, diet changes, and the use of drip irrigation to reduce water waste. It urges better care for animals and encourages readers to eat less meat.

The new document also details the steps that the Vatican has taken to address climate change, including no longer using toxic pesticides, the installation of LED lighting and solar panels, and the recycling of water in the Vatican fountains.

I am looking forward to the release of the English translation of On the Path to Caring for Our Common Home: Five Years after Laudato Si’ and will share here when it becomes available.

Working together, we can help take care of our common home. 

Paul Litwin

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