Becca lead us in a discussion of the recent work of Pope Francis.  Pope Francis took his name from St Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals.  So it should come as no surprise that Pope Francis decided to intervene in human affairs with an encyclical to intervene on behalf of the innocents and thus to tell us to stop poisoning the planet.  Future generations of children and animals should be able to enjoy the world that we inherited... or even a better world than we inherited.

On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis issued his encyclical Laudato Si which as been translated as "On Care for our Common Home."  It is a very readable document (assuming you are looking at the English translation of course.  I have linked a copy in English here.)

A lot of people will tell you what it means.  That is what interpreters do.  They tell you what they want you to think about this document.  Some will tell you it is the word of God telling us to save the lives of those living on this planet.  Others will tell you that it is the rant of a socialist who managed to hoodwink his way to an important position in Rome.  I would advise you to read it for yourself.  It is surprisingly interesting reading, and easy to read and understand.

Those of you who have visited our congregation know that we reserve time to have a group discussion about the topic that has been presented.  One important distinction that we discussed is the differentiation between "appetite" and need.  Subtly different from the common understanding of the economists who describe the tension between "wants" and "needs," appetite takes into consideration that something can be a basic need of all people, but the appetites of a few powerful people can make that thing scarce.  Water, for example, is something we all need, but a powerful person can claim all the water in a place, or, more commonly, poison the water of a place in the interests of manufacturing something for money and disposing of the waste in a way the poisons the water.   Pope Francis warns us here to not allow those people to become so powerful that the planet becomes spoiled for all.  Capitalism without strict boundaries will allow that to happen.  Pope Francis warns us to not let capitalism to be so unbounded that we are no longer caring for our common home.

I encourage you to read the encyclical... if you want some people to talk to about it, then I invite you to come to one of our Sunday gatherings.  It is at 11:00 AM most Sundays. (Check the calendar on the other page just in case it is one of those exceptional Sundays that we don't meet.)  Our little building used to be a house, but dont let that throw you.  The little house really is our meeting place.