(Vatican Radio) Father Augusto Zampini is an Argentinian Jesuit priest and moral theologian who knew and worked with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires. He says the encyclical “Laudato Si” reflects the Pope’s personality and his experience of ministering to the poor in the shantytowns of the Argentinian capital.
Reading the encyclical, Father Zampini said he could hear the Pope’s voice and how he is talking “on behalf of those who are marginalized” and also sense his “hope for a better world.” He said the Pope’s experience of working with the poor in Buenos Aires was very important and helped shape his thoughts in the encyclical on issues like global inequality, poverty and exclusion.
Fight for vested interests
Asked about the Pope’s stated desire to release his encyclical in plenty of time before a key UN summit on climate change in Paris, Father Zampini said this was a “deliberate” move because Pope Francis wants “to have a say” and also include “the voice of the voiceless” in these crucial negotiations that will help decide the future of our planet. He conceded, however, that some people in powerful positions won’t want to accept the Pope’s appeal for a constructive dialogue on the issue of climate change and instead will “fight for their own vested interests.”
An ecological conversion
When it comes to the encyclical’s lasting impact, Father Zampini believed this “inspiring document” will have a two-fold impact: both on the upcoming UN negotiations on climate change and also within the Church where he hopes it will trigger a “transformation… and the beginning of an ecological conversion within Catholic communities worldwide.”