1. Ignore ALL news commentary, especially MSM.
2. Recall that Pope Francis is the Successor of Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Chief Shepherd of the Church. He possesses a profoundly powerful charism as it regards teaching the Faithful. (If your mind just produced the words “antichrist” or “heretic”, stop and read CCC 882. A hallmark of authentic Catholic practice is union with the Bishop of Rome. If you can’t be brought to assent to his authority, then YOU have a problem. And let’s not get snarky. Cafeteria Catholicism isn’t just a phenomena of the Left.).
3. Actually read the Encyclical. Unless you’re a member of Congress, you should read before pontificating. We’ll stipulate that yes, an hour is a long time.
4. Pray about it. Forget about whether every word is infallible, ex cathedra, magisterial teaching. Ask God, does this document reveal truths about the nature of Creation and our relationship with it?
“Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.” (Para. 30).
“The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage. In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species? Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted? This same “use and throw away” logic generates so much waste, because of the disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary. We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment because, when the culture itself is corrupt and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided.” (Para. 123).
Can the Faithful say “Amen!”?
5. Consider whether, as a general proposition, we should be free to waste what God has supplied and whether this constitutes good stewardship. Are we truly free: to consume with abandon, to waste without regard for the needs of others, to amass more than what is necessary to prudently maintain our state of life? Why are you so upset with this question?
6. Then, after completing steps 1 through 5, comment.