Laudato Si‘: good practices of a spiritual and ecological conversion
In Spring 2019 COMECE and its partners organised the Second European Laudato Si’ Reflection Day to sharpen the view on what is necessary and possible to do in order to facilitate the ecological conversion described in Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’”.
The required conversion is key to maintain «our common home, the Earth», and goes beyond the «spiritual change», also including a change of our lifestyle which is often negatively connoted because it is seen as a «loss of the existing» and not as an «opportunity for something new».
In order to foster this transformation, the discussion held on the reflection day suggested less emphasis on safeguarding the existing wealth in our societies and presented initiatives and projects committing to make this necessary change a reality.
Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, President of COMECE, restated: «We need deep and lasting change towards sustainable lifestyles and bold policy choices that could support these efforts […] A simple "greening" of current economic and production conditions, the productivity gains of digitalization alone will not be enough to meet the challenge of a long- term sustainability policy».
Concrete good practices in this domain were came from different parts of Europe, from politicians as well as from Church-based organisations. Most initiatives were launched at the local and regional/diocesan level. Examples are, respectively, the «Eglise Verte» («Green parishes») held in France, the «Ecologically sensible acting Church» project promoted by the German Bishops Conference, and the awareness-building initiative of Don Gabriele Pippinato from Padova.
The Catholic University of Eichstätt, for example, committed to include «new and well-informed narrative» on the change of life-style into the training of future teachers and scientists, while «Casa Velha», a farm of the Alvim family located near Fatima, offers courses and meetings that combine ecology and spirituality.
Ms. Stefania Proietti, Mayor of Assisi, demonstrated how small steps can activate citizens for a very practical «ecological conversion», and how local public authorities and Church-authorities can joined their efforts. Click here for the video interview.
The representatives of the city council of Innsbruck, Ms. Marcela Duftner and Ms. Renate Krammer-Stark confirmed this narrative: local authorities, confronted with «grass-root challenges», are best suited to win people for an «ecological conversion» with concrete solutions for concrete problems: affordable housing, social inclusion and cohesion, mobility with a low carbon footprint.
Presenting the «European Sustainability Puzzle» and the «European Sustainability Reflection Paper», Mr. Saïd El Khadraoui, from the European Policy Strategy Center (EPSC), explained pit-falls of a short-sight concentration on «local sustainability»: activities on local level can be unsustainable on global scale when they «export» the unsustainable parts of their activities to other parts of the world.
An «ecological transformation» depends on considerable efforts and on cooperation between people and organisations «of good will». Therefore the partners of the European Laudato Si' Reflection Day – CCEE, CIDSE, COMECE, GCCM, JESC and Justice & Peace Europe - consider the idea of a «European Laudato Si' Alliance» as a network of organisations and people willing to promote the ideas of an «ecological conversion» on the way to a «good life» for all.