Book indicates late conversion of the pope to the environmental cause – 03/26/2024 – Darwin and God

Book indicates late conversion of the pope to the environmental cause – 03/26/2024 – Darwin and God


One of my great curiosities when reading the autobiography of Pope Franciswritten in partnership with Italian journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona and focused on the interrelationship between the Argentine pontiff’s life and major historical events, was to understand how and when Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s environmental “conversion” occurred.

This is because the most innovative document of Francis’ papacy, and perhaps the most innovative since the great reform of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, is the encyclical “Laudato Si'”, from May 2015. The text borrows its name from a phrase from the “saint of nature”, Saint Francis of Assisi, and summarizes in an exemplary way what science has discovered about the climate emergency and the serious environmental problems we face more generally.

Since the publication of “Laudato Si'”, Francis has sought to integrate environmental concerns into the papacy’s teaching in a constant and unprecedented way. Only health problems ended up preventing him from participating in the last COP (UN conference) on the climate crisis.

Interestingly, however, the text of the autobiography “Life: My Story Through History” only briefly addresses the topic. There’s nothing about nature walks or trees especially loved in Bergoglio’s youth (who, come on, spent a lot of his life in the heart of Buenos Aires).

The explanation, Fabio Ragona told me, is simple: Francisco actually woke up to the topic recently. In this sense, he is a recent or newly baptized “convert.” According to the author, part of this awakening is due to what the bishops of Brazil told him about the advance of deforestation in the Amazon.

Considering the rapidity of change, Francis’s role as a herald of the anti-climate change fight is even more impressive. I hope this bears fruit.

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