The Laudato Si’ encyclical is affecting people in very different ways. A number of people working in different Catholic Church institutions and organizations in Europe found themselves working together on the promotion of this encyclical. During the past two years, they organized a Laudato Si’ Reflection Day which was hosted by COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the EU.
The success of these events was such that those involved felt the need to extend this cooperation. This has led to the founding, by these various organizations, of ELSi’A – the European Laudato Si’ Alliance. If you want to find out more about the members of ELSi’A the links at the end of this editorial will inform you. Each of these members has their own mission which continues as before but now a platform is in place for them to act in unison. It is important that these different organizations come together in a manner that gives a common voice to the diverse experience of the Catholic Church in the promotion of Laudato Si’ in Europe.
The founding of ELSi’A, however, was not just an exercise in enlightened bureaucracy. The inspiration comes from the spirit of prayer and contemplation which pervades Laudato Si’. Pope Francis talks of ‘rapidification.’ While change is part of the working of complex systems rapid and constant change can cause ‘harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.’ There is a paradox in Pope Francis is calling for. In order to grasp the urgency of the situation in which we find ourselves, we must slow down and listen. We must learn to stop and wonder at this beautiful home which we all share.
In that spirit, a group of people working for the founder members of ELSi’A went on retreat together in Drongen Abbey, near Ghent. ‘The ELSi’A Declaration,’ which features as our video reflection in Eco-Bites this month, was inspired by that retreat and eagerly adopted by all who attended. If you want to know the answer to the question – Who is ELSi’A? – watch this video in the section below marked ‘Spiritual.’
ELSi’A brings together the following organisations:
COMECE – Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU;
CIDSE – International family of Catholic social justice organisations;
GCCM – Global Catholic Climate Movement;
JESC – Jesuit European Social Centre;
Justice and Peace Europe;
CCEE – Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe. (observer member)