By Sandra Azab Catholic News Service
On Feb. 16, the Pontifical Academy for Life invited its members to meet online for a seminar on some of the ethical perspectives presented in Pope Francis’ encyclicals “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” and “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship.” This meeting gave us a space to discuss and reflect on the human impact on all life on our planet.
This raised some critical questions, such as, How can we speak about the dignity of every individual while our lifestyles and our use of natural resources are already depriving a significant part of humanity of the foundations of life?
It’s important to share those reflections with the church and the community to indicate practical steps for all of humanity to move forward.
“Laudato Si'” is a huge wake-up call for humanity so that we realize the destruction we inflict on the environment and our fellow human beings. We must develop and apply sustainable, ecologically compatible production methods with the help of people’s expertise and science’s creativity. But we must also shape our lifestyles in such a way that the earth’s resources are used justly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our false security. “Fratelli Tutti” highlights how this time has highlighted our interconnection and interdependence. The pope writes that “the brutal and unforeseen blow of this uncontrolled pandemic forced us to recover our concern for human beings, for everyone, rather than for the benefit of a few” (No. 33).
Pope Francis has given the church and the community a guiding light that shows the way to repair our common home and build a better future for our society. It is time to recognize ourselves as the body of Christ, to support one another and to reflect God’s concern for all people, especially for the most vulnerable. This direction will move society toward a better future.
One of the major challenges of my generation is the loss of faith. After seeing so much suffering, especially in the current pandemic, many millennials have questions. Their spiritual leaders don’t have answers to these questions. The future looks alarming to this generation.
If we are willing to repair our common home, we will need young minds who are animated by their faith in God and care for creation. We care for creation not only because we live in it, but also because it reveals who God is. Millennials are in great need for spiritual leadership and discipleship in order to see creation the way God sees it! The church cannot neglect this responsibility.
A recent document published by the Pontifical Academy for Life, “Old Age: Our Future. The elderly after the pandemic,” highlights the role played by the elderly in the preservation and transmission of the faith to young people.
I believe that our role as young believers and scientists is to make the most of our faith and gifts, “for we are his handiwork, created in Jesus Christ for the good works that God has prepared in advance” (Eph 2:10).
Young people can serve as a voice of peace and reassurance and have the energy and passion to repair what has been damaged, both to the planet and to the fabric of human solidarity.
Scripture says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). This is how young people, infused with faith, should seek the transformation Pope Francis dreams of for our world.
Sandra Azab is a pharmacist, international health specialist and a researcher at St. Joseph Institute for Family and Life in Egypt. She is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.