Sustainability, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the Catholic Church’s Ecological Turn

By Jaime Tatay-Nieto
Religions 11, no. 10: 488.
September 2020

Abstract: The promulgation of the encyclical letter Laudato si’ by Pope Francis in 2015 has been interpreted as the final phase in the integration of sustainability concerns into Catholic Social Teaching. In this recent historical development, academic research has paid particular attention to how different eco-theological traditions, sociocultural developments, and local advocacy practices influenced the Church’s ecological turn. However, the key role played by non-magisterial, intermediate institutions, particularly highly qualified interlocutors such as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), has not been studied in depth. This article argues that, over the past 60 years, the PAS has been instrumental in this development: Raising awareness on socio-environmental issues, promoting environmental literacy, fostering ethical reflection, and catalyzing interdisciplinary dialogue in order to orient policy.

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