Contemplation and compassion are the necessary components of an integral ecology that ensures both the care of the environment and the common good, Pope Francis said.
“Compassion is the opposite of indifference,” Francis said Sept. 12 (2020), during an audience with members of the Laudato Si’ Communities. “Our compassion is the best vaccine against the epidemic of indifference.”
The Laudato Si’ Communities in Italy were founded by Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti, Italy, and Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, a grassroots organization that promotes the preservation of local food culture and traditional cooking to counteract the rise of fast food chains and food waste.
The current pandemic, the pope said, has shown that the health of men and women “cannot be separated from that of the environment in which they live.”
“It is also clear that climate change not only upsets the balance of nature, but also causes poverty and hunger; it affects the most vulnerable and sometimes forces them to leave their land,” he said.
The pope said that nature today is no longer admired or contemplated, but rather “devoured,” and that humanity has become voracious in its consumption of natural resources.
Humankind is “sick from consumption. This is our disease. [We are] sick from consumption,” he said. “We are scrambling for the latest ‘app,’ but we no longer know the names of our neighbors, much less know how to distinguish one tree from another.”
“Contemplation is the antidote to hasty, superficial and inconclusive choices,” he said. “Those who contemplate learn to feel the ground that sustains them, understand that they are not alone and without meaning.”
Francis said. “The world needs this creative and active charity, people who do not stand in front of a screen to comment, but instead, people who get their hands dirty to remove degradation and restore dignity…. we are all creatures, and everything in creation is related.”
Excerpt from online publication Earth Beat: Stories of Climate Crisis, Faith and Action