In a quick scan of the new encyclical, Laudato si, I could not help but note that it seems to embrace a functionalist perspective of consequentialism, i.e. the abuse of the planet is wrong because of its consequences for the environment and for the poor.
There does not seem to be adequate stress on the fact that the perversion of personal character, traditionally referred to as sin, is the actual root of the greed and the callousness that lead to poor stewardship of our planet and its resources. And sin is primarily an offense against God, since it disfigures and desecrates His beautiful image in the soul.
Someone once noted that all hatred and abuse is rooted in self-hatred and self-abuse. Thus hatred for the organic integrity of Creation is rooted in the inner hatred of the sacred order God has established in the human soul and in human relationships in the original creation of the universe, which was so wondrously restored in the redemption wrought by the Person, life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Unless we confront humanity's bondage to the desecrating power of self-hatred (traditionally referred to as concupiscence), we will be condemned to merely cosmetic and/or symptomatic solutions to the environmental problems of our world and of our immortal souls.
Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest who serves the people of Virginia.



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