Friday, June 19, 2015

The Pope's Encyclical, the Petition and Friday's Videos

[The following videos will help to summarize the Pope's environmental Encyclical, Laudato Si. If you get elpasonaturally via email, the videos will not be embedded. Go to to view them.]

Read the Encyclical.

The Pope's practical tips for helping the environment

A chapter by chapter overview of the Encyclical

Pope Francis Drops the Hammer on Climate Change
In which Pope Francis calls out the world.

Pope’s climate views press Catholic candidates

To stay in touch with news about the Encyclical go to or

To say the least the Encyclical, Laudato Si, by Pope Francis should have a huge impact on the world and its future. Combined with other movements that place more emphasis on ecological living and cooperation rather than growth, greed and consumption, the Pope's message has the real ability to change the hearts and minds of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, Christians and non-Christians alike. Let us hope so. 

57.73% of the people in El Paso, TX are religious, meaning they affiliate with a religion. 43.29% are Catholic. Groups such as Pax Christi and the Columban Mission Center are already leading the way not only for peace and border justice, but also for environmental care.

Yesterday's post discussed how the "We the People" petition that calls for preserving land on both sides of the Franklin Mountains is consistent with the city's strategic goals. That petition is also in harmony with the Encyclical of Pope Francis.

El Paso has vacant lots and vacant houses and buildings that sit abandoned. Yet developers sprawl farther and farther east, northeast and northwest. The argument is that people want a house with a backyard for their kids. What builders don't tell you is that people who end up buying these properties pay more to get to their jobs, go to the store and take children to their schools. Also, because most of these sprawl homes are cheaply built, the occupants will pay more to cool and heat those homes. We all pay more for services and maintenance caused by sprawl. Growth has not led to the prosperity of El Pasoans but to the pocketbooks of a few builders and developers, bankers and mortgage brokers. Communites such as Vinton and some colonias struggle for clean, affordable and available water.

The petition's call for checking sprawl is not just good economics, it's a good relationship with our natural environment. 

Please take time to study the Pope's Encyclical. We all can change our behavior so that we are in a right relationship with our world and all the species (animal and plant) with whom we share this world. We can all take political action and call politicians to accountability. Ethics is not just something we practice to be "good" persons; it's something we practice together in order to have more just and loving relationships, organizations, political entitites and communities. We cannot follow the advice of Jeb Bush who said, "I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.” Better people want a better political realm and a better enviornment.

Laudato Si!

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