Laudato Si': Discovering the Catholic response to caring for our planet

In a year when climate change protests have swept across the globe, how do Catholics respond?

For Dr Parvis, the answers can be found in Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’.

“It’s really one of the most important papal encyclicals of the last 100 years,” she says.

“It adds to the existing body of Catholic social teaching - it takes up the question of justice towards the poor but adds that to justice towards the environment.”

Dr Parvis is a senior lecturer at the School of Divinity at Edinburgh University, a city which has seen several recent climate demonstrations.

She said: “This is a year when the environment has gone up the agenda. “We’ve been led by the youth - many children as young as nine, ten, all across the UK calling on the older generation to repent, calling us to think what are we leaving for them.”

Dr Parvis will lead discussions on Laudato Si’ at an event organised by the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh next month.

It aims to increase understanding of the encyclical and for Catholics to reflect and respond to its key messages.

“Sometimes we are afraid that some people are stressing the environment at the expense of human justice.

“But one of the key pitches of the document is that these things go hand in hand - caring for the poor goes hand in hand with caring for the environment.

“Faith is essential to the whole thing. That’s one of the cases I think the encyclical puts across nicely.

“It’s a day of recollection and a day to remind ourselves how urgent the whole situation is.

“The event is both for people who have read the encyclical but also for people who have never read the encyclical and are just interested to know what Catholic Social teaching is.”

Laudato Si: Day of Reflection, takes place on Saturday 31 August at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh. Register for free on Eventbrite here.