As a Catholic, first and foremost I urge everyone to actually read what is written – do not trust MSM summaries of it and don’t take the word of those who have a particular axe to grind. Read it yourself – decide for yourself what it all means. Encyclicals are meant to be read; prayerfully and with mercy and charity. But, also as a Catholic, permit me to speak a bit about it. Here are just a few bits I’ve looked over so far.
The first thing which caught my eye is this:
Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless.
This is an important thing to say – we are not actually entirely free agents. Our freedom granted by God can only be properly used when we are voluntarily choosing to do what is right. It is true that we can choose evil – that is built into our free will…but when someone chooses to do wrong, that is not an act of freedom. It is, actually, an act of self-slavery – someone riveting chains of servitude upon himself. There are indisputable truths to guide our conduct and we ignore this at our extreme peril.