Discovering ecological conversion in the spirit of Laudato Si’

By Doug DeMeo
National Catholic Reporter
July 3, 2020

In the summer of 2017, leading up to and during my final treatment for lymphoma, I read “Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home” — for the third time. For the better part of two months in recovery, by the creek across our front yard in Woodstock, Maryland, I wrote and memorized a poem that sought to capture the poignancy of Pope Francis' environmental teaching. A year later, with help from the Catholic Climate Covenant and the Baltimore Archdiocese, Greycomm Studios at Loyola University Maryland produced a video of the poem.

Throughout that summer, especially when my immune system was at its weakest point and I was close to death, I had never felt more vulnerable or more open to acknowledging our nation's ecological sins. I found myself focusing especially on the fixation on comfort and economic growth that has prevented our taking climate change seriously. In my wish to undergo ecological conversion, I have had to own up to my blasé attitudes as a consumer. I have needed to see how I have failed to live in solidarity with people in developing countries whose lifestyles have had minimal impact on the atmosphere, and yet are facing the worst ravages of carbon pollution (See Mary Robinson's Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future). Knowing I am not alone, I have wanted to help the church rise to the occasion and boldly proclaim ecological conversion, which is at the heart of the pope's encyclical.

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