Italian cardinal: Laudato Si’ comparable in importance to Rerum Novarum

In a front-page article in L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve said that Pope Francis’s new encyclical on care for our common home is comparable to Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking social encyclical Rerum Novarum.

The cardinal writes that in 1891, Pope Leo turned “the maternal gaze of the Church” to the labor question during the crucial transition from an agricultural society to the industrial revolution.

We now live in a similarly crucial time of transition, Cardinal Bassetti continued, one predicted by Father Romano Guardini in The End of the Modern World, in which a “non-human man” claims limitless dominance over nature and an “economic, technical, organizational state” asserts limitless power over humanity and creation.

The most important challenge of Laudato Si’, then, is the challenge to the “ungovernable power” of the “techno-economic paradigm.”


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