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Laudato Si'.

There is a lot to praise in Laudato Si' (NCR, July 3-16), not the least being the courage to address an issue that some think should be left to scientists and politicians.

From my own perspective as a woman in the Catholic church, this encyclical is another example, once again, of shooting the caboose to stop the train. It just doesn't go far enough to name what is driving the destruction of the planet. It might have been better if the pope had first addressed the role of women in the church, or the role of the feminine in our understanding of God. Then there might have been a different perspective on what is needed to address the critical problems we face, in which institutional Catholicism itself has been complicit.

Until this inequality is addressed, until the feminine is raised to equal stature, the church in its own structures continues to perpetuate the abuse of women in the world and the destruction of the Earth, our mother. The church cannot be a credible witness to what it expects of others while failing to practice itself.

It's the shadow of patriarchy that continues to drive the engine of climate change at its deepest levels. In 172 footnotes, there is not one perspective by a feminist theologian. Until someone decides to stop the engine, or change its course, or repair it, the destination looks grim.


Santa Barbara, Calif.

Reading Pope Francis' encyclical and reflecting on recent papal-related occurrences brought to my mind the 1951 Hollywood film "Quo Vadis." The film represented a fictional event from the apocryphal Acts of Peter, wherein St. Peter, fleeing Rome during Nero's persecution of Christians, encounters Jesus going to Rome and asks him, "Quo vadis?" (Where are you going?)

Jesus responds, "To Rome to be crucified again." Peter gets the message and returns to Rome, where he is crucified upside down.

The pope's recent actions and those on his behalf as well as a passage in Laudato Si' causes me to ask: Quo vadis, Francis? A passage in his encyclical adopted from Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, summarizes the predominant themes in Francis' encyclical: "To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority."

This passage strongly suggests a belief in the need to replace capitalism and all national sovereignties with one global socialist system.


Carolina Shores, N.C.

It didn't take long for the extraordinary words of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment to be drowned out by the backlash against the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage. It must be human nature to be so up in arms about what a small minority of others are doing, rather than seriously consider the Holy Father's imploring to change our own ways for the sake of all humanity.

Indeed, the "slippery slope" of morality that some claim is imminent is nothing compared to the avalanche of climate change already upon us. The truth is, while marriage is important to our society and our faith, the environment is important for life itself. While I personally do not support same-sex marriage, it's not for me to judge how others live their lives if it doesn't directly affect me. Morality must be fostered through changing hearts, not by legislation or court rulings.

Which issue is really worth our effort, and most critical to the future of our children and our planet?


Glen Rock, Pa.
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Author:MacDonald, Alice; Donnelly, John; Wright, Michael
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Aug 28, 2015
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