Probing LAUDATO SI' For a New Spirituality in a Technocratic Culture
Pope Francis’ 2015 social encyclical Laudato si’ provides a challenging, helpful, and timely lens through which to view this cultural moment. By analyzing the reception of this encyclical, its structure and sources, and its resonances among others, this thesis argues that Pope Francis’ target of his critique of the current state of our world is what he calls “the technocratic paradigm.” This paradigm, with its historical antecedents and metaphysical underpinnings, is incongruous with the way of seeing and acting that is more rooted in our Christian tradition. Pope Francis entices the Church to live out its distinct tradition with a renewed rigor. With the guidance of this encyclical, this thesis wrestles with the power and ubiquity of the technological paradigm and the saturation of our everyday lives with its products, procedures, and practices. Neither option of blessing the technocratic paradigm as a gift from God nor rejecting it as pure evil is plausible, but providing a constructive lens to think through the current cultural moment is necessary. Many of the faithful remain distracted and abstracted from the places where they live and the people with whom they interact, and as a consequence, many express a hunger for a deeper and more meaningful engagement with life. Through dialogue with a number of contemporary authors, this project will point to some specific practices that might comprise a new spirituality for today.