Pope Francis’ Ecological Conversion

In a 2020 meeting with a group of French environmental activists, Pope Francis went off script telling them the inside story of his own journey of having an “ecological conversion.” In his meetings and conversations between 2007 and 2015 with several chieftains from different indigenous cultures of the First Peoples of Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian region of Amazonia, he recounted how his eyes were opened to “the harmony of wisdom.” His conversion was the impetus that led to his writing the acclaimed encyclical “Laudato Si’,” On Care for Our Common Home and that at the urging of the French minister of the environment, Ségolène Royal, he completed his encyclical ahead of the 2015 United Nations–sponsored Paris Conference on Climate Change. Pope Francis also told the activists that he saw on display before him the very “harmony of indigenous wisdom,” that brought him to the realization of the poverty of the “heirs of liberalism and the Enlightenment” in that “we have lost the harmony of the three languages: the language of the head—thinking—the language of the heart—feeling—and the language of the hands—doing.” In a forthcoming post I will give an account of an art historian on how he views nature and art as needs of the mind.

“Pope Francis on the ‘ecological conversion’ that led him to ‘Laudato Si’”. Gerard O’Connell, America, Sept. 3, 2020.

“Laudato Si’” https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html‘Laudato Si’

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