Summary and Commentary on Laudato Si':
the Pope's encyclical on the environment and poverty
Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum
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The long-awaited encyclical letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si': on care for our common home, was released on 18 June 2015. The title comes from the canticle of Saint Francis, “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”, and sets the theme for a lengthy addition to Catholic Church teaching that addresses both the environmental challenges facing the world and persistent poverty, weaving the two themes together as aspects of the same spiritual illness facing the world today. The letter is framed as an integrated systems perspective on the material and spiritual challenges, and the need for spiritual solutions. As Baha'is we can welcome such a clear stand by the Catholic Church on issues where we share both the priority that they should be given, and the diagnosis of the fundamental spiritual illness behind both problems.