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Tackling the ‘globalisation of indifference’

New York-based Jesuit Jake Braithwaite SJ was the guest speaker at a webinar hosted by Gonzaga College SJ on Laudato Sí, Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the ‘care of the earth, our common home’.

It was organised by Elisabeth Clarke, Pat Corkery SJ, and Siobhán McNamara, and it took place on Monday 19 April 2021. The aim of the evening, according to Siobhan, “was to deepen the understanding of the Ignatian perspective on stewardship and on how we can embody a compassionate commitment towards all of creation”.  The organisers were heartened by the attendance at the webinar, which included parents, members of staff, alumni, and other members of the Gonzaga school community.  Read more about the event below. Watch a recording of the event here.

A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach’

After an opening prayer led by Pat Corkery SJ, Elisabeth Clarke (Director of Ignatian Formation and Services Programmes in Gonzaga) spoke about the four Universal Apostolic Preferences, in particular, ‘Caring for our Common Home’. Then Siobhán McNamara (School Librarian) gave an overview of Gonzaga’s Green Schools programme.

Jake then gave a heartfelt and very engaging presentation about Laudato Si’ and Pope Francis, exploring how various aspects of the Pope’s background – he is a scientist, a pastor, and a Jesuit – all contribute to the content of the encyclical.

A core message of the text is that everything is connected, and an understanding of this is key to caring for our common home: ‘if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously’ (Laudato Si’, 11).

This sense of connection must extend to other human beings: ‘We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference.’ (Laudato Si’, 52). Thus ‘a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ (Laudato Si’, 49).

After Jake’s presentation, there were some insightful contributions and questions from attendees, including several references to Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ. This was very apt, as we concluded the evening with a reading of Hopkins’ poem ‘As Kingfishers Catch Fire’ from Pat Corkery SJ.

The event organisers would like to thank everyone who participated and contributed, especially our guest speaker Jake Braithwaite SJ.

Siobhán McNamara