Discovering Integral Ecology in Laudato Si’Course Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

This is a study of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home (June, 2015).  Each of the first four week’s work is devoted to the first four chapters. Chapters 5 and 6, are the application to action and will be combined in the concluding week.  Showing his inclusive nature and invitation to all people, Pope Francis ends Laudato Si’ with two prayers:  A Prayer for Our Earth and A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation.  You are encouraged to use these regularly as part of your prayer and reflection during this course.  May we each be inspired and transformed in our spiritual work and partnerships with others as we join together to better Care for Our Common Home.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • To explain Pope Francis’ concept of integral ecology in light of the body of Catholic Social Teaching on the environment.
  • To understand the human in community as part of the radical unity of creation and the profound God-given vocation to protect it.
  • To exhibit sound scientific and social understandings of our current environmental problems, their causes, and their effects on human communities.
  • To explain the ways poverty, conflict, technology, and economy intersect in our current crisis.
  • To identify sources of wisdom and guidance within the Christian tradition that support dialogue and inspire ecological healing.
  • To identify practical and pastoral ways to care for our common home.

Course Materials

  • No books required. All readings are online.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Chapter 1 - What is Happening To Our Common Home?
    • To understand the major environmental challenges we face.
    • To understand our climate and ecological systems as part of the common good.
    • To connect the decline of environmental quality with a concurrent breakdown in in quality of human life.
    • To explain how environmental decline intersects with inequality and human rights.
  • Week 2: Chapter 2 - The Gospel of Creation
    • To be able to describe the relationship between humans and Creation in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
    • To be able to describe the biblical roots of human responsibility for creation.
    • To be able to describe the “universal destination” of created goods.
    • To appreciate the dignity of all creatures.
    • To understand the redemptive work of Christ as it relates to all of creation.
    • To explain the demands of faith with respect to caring for our common home.
  • Week 3: Chapter 3 - The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis
    • To reflect critically on the role of technology in society.
    • To articulate the limitations of scientific progress.
    • To understand the importance of work in the Church’s understanding of creation.
  • Week 4: Integral Ecology
    • To describe the concept of integral ecology
    • To understand the connections between environmental/scientific and the social dimensions (e.g. economy, politics, culture) of our lives.
    • To begin to analyze environmental, economic and social situations in light of the central ideas of integral ecology
    • To begin to articulate what Pope Francis’ vision is for humanity living out an integral ecology
  • Week 5: Paths of Dialogue, Ecological Education and Spirituality
    • To articulate the requirements of integral ecology for all levels of political communities, science and indigenous populations.
    • To articulate the standards and elements needed within decision-making processes to achieve an integral ecology
    • To understand the process and dimensions involved in ecological conversion
    • To identify areas for personal involvement in working toward personal ecology.
    • To be able to apply Pope Francis vision to one’s own life, ministry/workplace and other spheres of influence.