Last night in our RCIA group we looked at aspects of the spirituality of Pope Francis as expressed in his Apostolic Exhortations and Encyclicals.
His Encyclical “Laudato Si” written just 6 years ago has some challenging things to say in chapter Six. He begins by saying:
“Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending.”
Pope Francis suggests that when we become self-centred and self enclosed, our greed increases. The emptier our heart is the more we need to buy, own and consume. I remember a dear friend, who when feeling down would go out and buy an expensive hand bag. Some call this retail therapy.
“A person who could afford to spend and consume more but regularly uses less heating and wears warmer clothes, shows the kind of convictions and attitudes which help protect the environment.”
It is important that we don’t see this merely as an individual effort we need to do this as a community. CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Oversea Development) says that an important part of our faith is to care and develop respect for other people in the world. They have instituted an award that is given to those communities who can show how they have been, living simply, living in solidarity with people in poverty and living sustainably with creation. You can see more on their website.