Another article I read today made me realize that I should inform you that the issue of reproductive rights was not part of the encyclical. I neglected to make that clear. Because reproductive rights has been a constant presence in our political rhetoric and in this blog for at least a year, I thought it might seem like a contradiction to my readers that I welcome the Pope’s encyclical and consider it authoritative. That’s why I chose to talk about the place of women in this new world. However, I have to confess that I’ve had a little trouble identifying the relevant factors behind the encyclical’s acceptance by the non-Catholic world, and figuring out the best way to talk about it.
Obviously, concerns about the environment are the glue that ties everyone together, but at the same time you can hardly deny the general importance of faith in the acceptance of such a document. Of course faith isn’t limited to belief in a specific religion. People need faith to move forward politically and economically. They especially need faith today to address the problems of the environment. This is no doubt why a theology of the environment is so welcome.
However, I’m beginning to understand that on an individual level, faith’s requirements can be quite stringent. It’s faith that requires us to try to fit all the parts together and make sense of them. It’s faith that makes us ask ourselves what this means for our own spiritual life. It’s faith that wants to believe.
We can’t forget that while the encyclical is a religious document it has political implications. Its interpretation and implementation will still have to be worked out. So if it was confusing that I inserted the reproductive rights issue in a discussion of Laudato Si’ I apologize for the confusion, but I probably won’t lose any sleep over it.