By Vatican News staff reporter
“To inspire and mobilize the Catholic community to care for our common home and achieve climate and ecological justice”: with its new mission statement, the Laudato sí Movement, originally known as the Global Catholic Climate Movement outlines its new objectives as it enters a new phase of its work for the environment.
The birth of the Movement
The Movement was founded in 2015 by a group of 17 Catholic organizations and 12 representatives of academic institutions and civil society from all continents, and is committed to helping the faithful respond to the exhortations of Pope Francis' encyclical on the care of the common home, published that same year. Today, six years later, the Laudato sí Movement includes more than 800 diverse entities. Recently, the Movement undertook “a journey of discernment over 18 months long.” Tomás Insua, co-founder and executive director of that reality, explained to Vatican News that the journey was a reflection on identity, mission, name and structures that compose the movement.
“What emerged was that the name Global Catholic Climate Movement, which served us well in the very beginning, didn’t reflect the broad work in support of the Laudato sí encyclical that we were doing,” Insua said. “So after a long discernment process that included a consultation of our members at and our key partners … we ended up discerning that the name should be Laudato si Movement.” He said, “The name intends to reflect better the work, the more holistic work to care for our common home that we have been doing in recent years. The broader work of integral ecology and ecological conversion, that we are doing in the service of Laudato si.” The new name was chosen from a list of 25 possibilities.
Lorna Gold, president of the board of directors, who introduced the changes in an online meeting on Thursday, emphasized, “It is important to note that the mission is being broadened to include the concept of ecological justice, based on the spirit of Laudato si’, where ‘everything is interconnected’.”
“Thank you” from the Pope
As the Movement continues the process of renewal, Pope Francis himself offered words of encouragement. Insua told Vatican News that the Movement had written to the Holy Father informing him of the discernment process and seeking his input; and asking for his blessing before moving forward and changing the name. The Pope wrote a brief response which arrived on the Vigil of Pentecost, “which was a very strong sign,” Insua said. He noted that the discernment process had “been characterized by an atmosphere of synodal prayer, asking for light from the Holy Spirit.” In his message, the Pope thanked the movement for its mission of promoting integral ecology and for the assistance it offered to the Church and the world. Insua noted, too, Pope Francis’ hope that Laudato sí might not remain on the library shelf, but might become a living document.
Bringing Laudato sí to communities
In addition to its new name and new mission statement, the Laudato sí Movement also discerned a new identity statement which re-affirms its self-understanding as “a hybrid movement that brings together both organizations and grassroots members.” The new identity statement reads:
GCCM seeks to be a Spirit-led movement that brings Catholics together to fulfill its stated mission [listed above]. The movement brings together a wide range of Catholic (1) organizations and (2) grassroots members from around the world. These members walk together in synodality and communion with the universal Church on a journey of ecological conversion. Seeking unity in diversity, organizational and grassroots members come together to pray, collaborate and mobilize in response to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” Guided by a spirit of subsidiarity, when the time and context are right, they co-create or engage with local Laudato Si’ Circles and Chapters and connect with the global movement on a wide range of initiatives to bring Laudato Si’ to life.
In a statement announcing the changes, the Laudato sí Movement said, “With a new name, better-defined values, and a clearer mission statement, [the Movement] looks forward to amplifying how Catholics and people of good will all over the world bring Laudato si’ to life every day in their communities.”