The Association of Catholics of Ireland (ACI) and the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) jointly sponsored a lecture on the new Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si, entitled ‘The Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si, and its implications for Church and Society’ on Monday June 29th in Trinity College, Dublin.
Regarding the publication of this document as an event of enormous importance both for the Church and society, and seeing it is a particular responsibility for members of the Church to promote its message in every way we can, we are pleased to report that close to 250 people attended this event.
The evening consisted of two very interesting and completely different presentations followed by a Q&A session.
Dr, John Sweeney focused on the evolving situation with regard to climate change and the to fact that we are facing disaster if we don’t change our ways. He set the frightening context for the Pope’s encyclical – the decisions this generation makes in the next 25 years will either help to save or else destroy the planet. He succeeded in explaining very complex scientific and mathematical concepts in very ordinary and clear language. Everybody present will have come away from the event with a far clearer understanding of the issues and the consequences of inaction as a result of Dr. Sweeney’s enlightening presentation which was suitably embellished by some very graphic slides.
Fr,Sean McDonagh dealt with the historical background to the encyclical and then highlighted the key detail in the document. The encyclical, in Sean’s words, poses a real ‘ground-breaking’ challenge for mankind.He elaborated on the ecumenical approach of the encyclical and suggested that it offered a wonderful opportunity to local communities of all faiths to unite to develop, simple local environmental initiatives. The cumulative impact of such local initiatives could serve to make a significant difference to our environment and send a powerful to the wider population and to decision-makers in particular.
Fr. Sean McDonagh, Columban. Sean’s expertise in this whole area is internationally acknowledged. He was one of the chief advisors to the Vatican in the composition of the encyclical.
Dr. John Sweeney. John is retired professor of Geography at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He is an expert on Climate Change, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and one of the contributors to the Irish Bishops Pastoral, Cry of the Earth (2009).