Speech by H. Em. Card. Peter Turkson at the International Conference Laudato si’ on Environmental Ecology held at the Universidad Católica San Antonio, Murcia, España (2 March 2016)
Integral Ecology in Laudato si’
In the name of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, my first happy task is to congratulate His Eminence Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, for the Doctorate Honoris Causa which the Universidad Católica San Antonio is granting You today. This prestigious and public honour certainly expresses the esteem and gratitude, not only of the University, but also of the Holy Father, the Holy See and indeed the entire Catholic Church. I also wish to express my gratitude for this invitation and the prayerful wishes of our entire Council for a very successful conference on a most relevant theme.
In order to appreciate integral ecology as taught by Pope Francis in Laudato si’, I will offer my remarks today in three parts:
1. Looking back, I would like briefly to review Catholic social teaching and how it addresses the environment in its fullest sense. For as we know, authentic teaching has a very long pedigree. The Church is always meditating upon the gift of faith and applying it to the changing circumstances of history. I will draw this material from the pontificates of Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Both of these Holy Fathers have contributed significantly to a deepened understanding of the relationship between natural and human ecology.
2. I shall introduce some brief contributions that Pope Francis has made to the legacy of the Church's teaching on natural and human ecology.
3. Turning to Laudato si’, finally, we can appreciate his teachings on integral ecology with all their contemporary relevance and urgency.