LAUDATO SI’: A Community Conversation - Chapter Five



Today, we continue our community conversation on Pope Francis’s newly released encyclical On Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si’). For instructions on how to participate, an overview of the chapters, and information on how to download or purchase the encyclical, visit the Laudato Si’ landing page here at CatholicMom.comLisa Hendey

Chapter Five: Lines of Approach and Action

Today Charisse Tierney reflects upon Chapter Five.

Charisse Tierney:

Imagine a household where everyone is looking out for each other. A place of peaceful democracy, where Mom and Dad rule according to the laws of God, while at the same time being open to honest discussions about what is best for the long-term spiritual welfare of the family. A home where older siblings cheerfully complete the more complicated chores as they patiently wait for the younger ones to learn. An environment in which faster technology isn’t always equated with better quality of life. An atmosphere with no hidden agendas, no hardened hearts, and no doubt about the dignity of human life. Imagine a dinner table where God is always thanked first, and where everyone makes sure the food is evenly distributed. A place where science and religion are part of the same conversation and where immediate gratification is frequently sacrificed for an eternal reward.

This is the vision for the world that Pope Francis gives us in chapter five of Laudato Si. This is the vision of peaceful dialogue, long-term goals, and concern for the common good that the Pope tells us our world needs to “help us escape the path of self-destruction which currently engulfs us.” (No. 163)

While Pope Francis acknowledges that some World Summits and Conventions have implemented effective solutions to some of our environmental problems, he also expresses concern that other Conventions “have not lived up to expectations because, due to political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.” (No. 166)

The Pope does offer some concrete suggestions for resolving various aspects of the environmental crisis, but, more importantly, he emphasizes that “honesty and truth are needed in scientific and political discussions” (No. 183), and he reminds us that “even the best mechanisms can break down when there are no worthy goals and values, or a genuine and profound humanism to serve as the basis of a noble and generous society.” (No. 181)

It is these sentiments of virtue and human dignity that inspire me to ask what I can do to care for our world. I feel so far removed from World Summits and political discussions as I fulfill my daily duties of changing diapers, doing laundry, and feeding hungry mouths. But Pope Francis assures us that “local individuals and groups can make a real difference.” (No. 179) Our homes–our domestic churches–are our children’s “world view”. And as we promote values that encourage our children to work for the common good, stay focused on long-term goals, and practice dialogue that is patient and generous, we will succeed in raising leaders who will use those values to save our world.

Read Charisse Tierney’s bio and columns at

Reflection Questions:

  1. How do you respond to what was written by Pope Francis in this chapter and how does it impact upon your reading of the entire document?
  2. How can the choices we make locally and even in our own homes have a global impact?

Next week, we will read and reflect upon Chapter Five of Laudato Si’. For more information on this conversation, visit our Laudato Si’ landing page.

Copyright 2015 Charisse Tierney

Image credit: Bessi, Pixabay, Public domain


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for those thoughts, Charisse. I think you really got to the heart of Pope Francis’s observation that the breakdown of relationships among families and communities also manifests itself in the dis-integration of the natural world. I used to visit a century farm (100 years in the same family) with students in one of my classes. They were impressed by the ways that multiple generations of a family worked together to care for their cows, fields, and woods, while still providing for their children. You say that you feel removed from world summits as you fulfill your daily duties. Doing those daily duties well (small acts with great love, as Mother Teresa would say), somehow – almost miraculously – starts to change the world, possibly in a more enduring way than world summits. Do not discount your role in bringing about the Kingdom, on Earth as it is in heaven. Vague, I know, but God often deals in vague.

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