Laudato si’ (I): Collateral considerations

There are few images that so authentically and poetically reflect the relationship between God and mankind, as the shepherd and his flock. “I am the good shepherd, My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10:14, 27). These unforgettable words of the Eternal Shepherd have instilled confidence and certainty in his sheep throughout the centuries. Yes, throughout all centuries, for the ‘echo’ of the voice of the Shepherd has consistently made itself heard among the faithful in different ways. Amongst these, an incomparable manner is, without doubt, through the Magisterium of the Church, which by the munus of teaching, projects the voice of the Divine Master for all time, leading the flock to fertile pastures and defending it from ferocious wolves. Even today, the ‘sheep’ know how to recognize who is speaking to them…

A short time ago Pope Francis published his second Encyclical. The interest that preceded its publication was a clear symptom of the desire to find in it an ‘echo’ of the voice of Jesus Christ caring for his flock in these agitated times. The publication of ‘Laudato si’ – which Francis wishes to incorporate into the social doctrine of the Church – awakened a reaction, that is as wide as it is superficial, from the most diverse quarters, ranging from radical environmental groups, to political leaders and religious sectors: reactions of delight, of reserve, and of concern…

Therefore, in face of the importance of this document, the Denzinger-Bergoglio, as well as its English counterpart, present a study that is more exhaustive than our habitual endeavors. The structure of this study is similar to our usual form, but with new facets that help the reader to enter into the little mentioned meanders of the Encyclical so as to be able to arrive to a sound verdict about it, always in keeping with the immutable doctrine of the Church.

In this first part, it seemed opportune to enter into collateral considerations, not always known by many, about certain essential premises of what a pontifical document is, principally one that is of the category of the document- object of our analysis.

As Catholics, how should we consider this Encyclical? Do we find in it an authentic echo of the voice of the Good Shepherd, clarifying the social questions of our days? Let’s leave it to the Magisterium itself to answer these questions. Read on…

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