In Laudato si’, Pope Francis reframes church teaching on creation – on the natural environment that is our unique cradle of organic life – by highlighting the neglected fact that humans are an integral part of the earth system and are now collectively shaping its future. He urgently invites the world to engage in honest dialogue: ‘How shall we construct the future of the planet?’
He provides us with the elements needed to reflect theologically on integral ecology. Integral ecology interconnects the wide range of languages and categories that take us ‘to the heart of what it is to be human’ (Laudato si’ [henceforth LS] §11). So, we need to discover in a new way just who is ‘Anthropos’, both as an integral part of the dynamic ecologies of the Earth system, and as having an outsized role and responsibility in the Anthropocene. In Laudato si’, the Holy Father helps us to think about all this humanly, spiritually and theologically.