Vatican to mark 5th anniversary of Laudato si’ with year-long celebration

Vatican City, May 19, 2020 / 11:00 am (CNA).- The Vatican will on May 24 launch a year-long celebration of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato si’ to mark its fifth anniversary.

The “special Laudato si’ anniversary year” is an initiative of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and will include a wide range of events, starting with a global day of prayer and ending in the launch of multi-year sustainability action plans.

Five years from Pope Francis’ signing of the document, the “encyclical appears ever more relevant,” according to a statement from the dicastery.

It noted that the environmental encyclical’s anniversary also falls in the midst of the global coronavirus outbreak, saying “Laudato si’s message is just as prophetic today as it was in 2015.”

“The encyclical can indeed provide the moral and spiritual compass for the journey to create a more caring, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world,” the Vatican department said.

The year will begin May 24, the day Laudato si’ was signed by Pope Francis, with a day of prayer for the earth and for humanity. A prayer was written for the occasion which people are being encouraged to say at noon anywhere in the world. 

The integral development dicastery has also organized events in the week leading up to the anniversary, including several talks with the Global Catholic Climate Movement over the videoconferencing software Zoom, for “Laudato si’ Week.”

“We hope that the anniversary year and the ensuing decade will indeed be a time of grace, a true Kairos experience and ‘Jubilee’ time for the Earth, and for humanity, and for all God’s creatures,” the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said.

The initiatives, undertaken in partnership with other groups, have “a clear emphasis on ‘ecological conversion’ in ‘action,’” it continued.

In June, according to a schedule released by the dicastery, a document on “operation guidelines” for Laudato si’ will be released.

Just a few of the other special projects to be launched throughout the year are the new annual Laudato si’ Awards, a documentary film on Laudato si’, a tree initiative, and a social media “Read the Bible Contest.”

In 2021 the dicastery will start institutions such as families, dioceses, schools, and universities on a seven-year program to work toward integral ecology through the lens of Laudato si’.

The goal of this program, as set out by the dicastery, is to respond in concrete ways to the cry of the earth and the poor, to promote ecological economics and awareness, and to adopt simpler lifestyles. 

Other planned events are a June 18 webinar, marking the encyclical’s release anniversary, as well as participation in the ecumenical “Season of Creation” month Sept. 4-Oct. 1.

The Vatican events, “Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance” and the “Economy of Francesco,” which were due to have taken place this spring and have been postponed to the fall, are now also classified under the anniversary year celebrations, according to the schedule.

In January 2021, the Vatican will host a roundtable on the World Economic Forum in Davos. There is also a proposal for a gathering of religious leaders in early spring 2021.

The year will conclude with a conference, the performance of a musical work, and the conferring of the first Laudato si’ awards.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


  1. Are Catholics still permitted to wonder? To wonder whether the new neologism of an “integral ecology”—coupling the “natural ecology” with the related but formerly distinct “human ecology” (Centesimus Annus)—and combined with ambiguities on moral absolutes (Veritatis Splendor) will further divide the Church and squander the historic moment?

    Needed is full and explicit openness of the “integral ecology” to not only the (unanimous?) natural sciences, but also in continuity with the magisterium. Systemic sins of (global) omission, yes—but not by discounting other personal and collective sins of commission. The educational initiative beginning in 2021: will our clericalist (?) tutors rise to the occasion, clearly allowing the Church to be fully what it is? Or, just another “new paradigm” in the dustbin of history?

    The CATECHISM (nn. 2033-5) identifies intrinsically evil acts immoral under all circumstances and non-negotiable. These include: intentional killing of the innocent (n. 2273), infanticide (n. 2268), abortion (n. 2273), euthanasia (n. 2277); and sexual immorality (nn. 2352, 2353, 2356, 2357, 2370, 2380, 2381).

    The SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL explains further:

    “Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraced working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 27).

    The CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING (Compendium 2004) frames ALL of this without a too-selective focus by elimination: economic, social, cultural and political. An integrated starting block to better frame an “integral ecology”—fully accountable on each flip chart and Power point! (Not “later” nor evasively as, say, under an invasive-specie/contagious spectrum mentality).

    • I doubt it. Peter’s Pence donations are at a record low, partly because of anger over the sex abuse crisis and corruption, and partly because Catholics refuse to finance the current Pope’s leftist agenda.

    • My sense from other postings is that Peter’s Pence is insulated.
      But now we have a 12-point initiative to test the perennial Church. Wondering how inclusive the script writers or outside consultants might be. The red-face test and some questions:

      (1) Catholic Climate Movement (also anointing an infallible “Catholic” science?), (2) “partnership” with other groups (the entire Brundtland Commission sustainability ideology?), (3) operational “guidelines” (?), (4) Laudato si Awards (corporate or private initiatives need not apply?), (5) documentary film, (6) tree initiative (Pachamama-II in the Vatican Gardens?), (7) Read the Bible Contest (reorienting toward our sola scriptura Protestant brethren?), (8) 2021 seven-year program (alongside the Catechism? And committing a future pope?), (9) ecumenical Season of Creation (humble silence toward any scheduling of Earth Day on Easter Sunday?), (10) Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance (vertical, horizontal and environmental: hope so!), and Economy of Francisco, (11) Jan 2021 World Economic Forum in Davos, and (12) gathering of religious leaders (eco-Assisi, but not many gestures left, now that we’ve suffered kissing of the Koran and then the feet [only] of Syrian leaders).

      No intention here to blunt the actionable intent of SOLIDARITY, but just wondering what’s falling under the bus in terms of both focus and funding? Financial “climate change” has the entire Church on the brink of an Ice Age. And, not to defend here all modern-day captains of industry. . . but international Socialism would be as fatal institutionally as COVID-19 is pandemically.

      How, truly, to get it right, or at least, not wrong?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.