VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Pope Francis confirmed plans to publish a "second Laudato Si'," which is expected to update and expand on his 2015 encyclical on the environment.
Greeting visitors in the Paul VI audience hall after his weekly general audience Aug. 30, the pope drew attention to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation Sept. 1, the beginning of the Season of Creation, a monthlong ecumenical period for prayer and action to promote ecological principles. The Season of Creation ends Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis Assisi.
"On that date I intend to publish an exhortation, a second Laudato Si'," Pope Francis said. The document will be the sixth apostolic exhortation of his pontificate and the first since his February 2020 post-synodal exhortation on the Amazon.
To conclude his weekly audience, the pope asked Catholics to join with "our Christian brothers and sisters in the commitment to caring for creation as a sacred gift of the Creator."
"It is necessary to side with the victims of environmental and climate injustices, striving to end the senseless war on our common home, which is a global, terrible war," he said.
The pope had mentioned the upcoming document Aug. 21 when he met with a group of lawyers; he said he was preparing the document as a "second part to Laudato Si' to update it on current problems."
Pope Francis also mentioned the letter July 26 when he spent an hour responding to questions from young people from the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, according to Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli. "We decided to keep mum about it, to let Pope Francis share the news when he wanted," the archbishop posted on X, formerly Twitter.
The Season of Creation grew out of the observance of the day of prayer, which originated in the Orthodox Church and was added to the Catholic Church's calendar by Pope Francis in 2015. In his message for this year's celebration, the pope called on world leaders attending the U.N. climate summit in Dubai Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 to "institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel."
In an article published on the British Jesuits' Thinking Faith website Aug. 29, Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, encouraged people to ask themselves, "What issues have emerged as significantly more dangerous and urgent today than their treatment in the 2015 encyclical suggests? What is our role in each one? What can and must we do about each one?"
"No matter how the encyclical is updated our obligation to the future is incontestable," he wrote and then quoted "Laudato Si'": "We must never forget that the younger generations have the right to receive a beautiful and livable world from us, and that this implies that we have a grave responsibility towards creation which we have received from the generous hands of God."
Eight years after the publication of "Laudato Si'," the cardinal urged people to ask: "What impact did the encyclical have? What changes or developments should we be grateful for? What areas did it not reach? How can we help both parts of Laudato Si' to reach more widely and more deeply?"
Caption: Flathead Lake near Rollins, Montana, is seen in this file photo from July 24, 2023. Pope Francis announced he will release a new document on the environment Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. (CNS photo/Cindy Wooden)