Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pope Francis Encyclical: "Laudato Si", Response by Jeni Marie Marcus, Esq. and Deacon ARCWP: Encyclical Needed on Women as Spiritual Equals

14. "I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. [22] All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents."

23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.
24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.'

"A Follow Up Game Changing Encyclical" by Jennifer Marie Marcus, Esq., Deacon, ARCWP

 Undoubtedly, Francis's encyclical " Laudato Si [Praised Be]: On the Care of Our Common Home" is historic and will have an impact on the global community and its economy. The encyclical's emphasis on how climate change has a direct negative  impact on the global poor is laudatory and apparent.

 Since the global poor are  comprised of primarily  women and children ,if Francis is really serious about making significant inroads into  eradicating poverty it would behoove him to issue  a follow up historic encyclical  elevating the status and role of women commencing with taking action  in his own Church. He could start by placing women in leadership roles and recognizing their Divine call to Holy Orders and the Episcopate. This would be sign to the rest of the world that women are, according to scripture, equal to men in source divinity and it would be consistent with the Vatican II Documents. 

The encyclical should state  in clear unequivocal terms that because women are equal children in the eyes of our Creator they can no longer be  morally ,culturally, and legally viewed as subservient to men ,nor are they property ,or second class citizens.. Women are to be  treated with dignity and respect ,have wage parity with men for the same work they perform and are to be  free of practices and laws that are misogynistic, patriarchal, bigoted , discriminatory  oppressive and  result in all forms of emotional and physical violence. Behavior, actions or laws falling short of those prohibitions would be viewed as grave sins .

It is my belief that such an encyclical would challenge backward cultures, secular and religious institutions and governments to improve the lives of women and reduce the number of poverty stricken peoplein the world. At the minimum it would invite serious global discourse of the scourge of gender inequality and its connection to poverty, misogyny, patriarchal oppression, discrimination and violence, and overtime be a  segue for positive social change and justice.

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