“… has a key public role to play and as a church in the developed world, it also bears a significant responsibility for protecting the environment. ”
This project is designed to enable two academics and three leaders in the church in the U.S. and Canada to work together, first to understand the ways that Laudato Si\' has engaged communities of faith and the larger society in North America, then to draw on that understanding to implement projects that further that engagement. During the research process, the pastoral leaders would serve as resources persons, and during the implementation phase the roles would reverse.
In brief, the team would develop research agendas tailored to two Canadian and four U.S. cities to conduct innovative fieldwork in each in order understand how people there make sense of Laudato Si\', and the difference this makes.
Laudato Si\' is a remarkable instance of a document originating in one faith community that has wider appeal. While many Catholic documents framed in \"natural law reasoning\" attempt to address all human beings as such, Laudato Si\' goes further by drawing on the terms of debate of the wider society. This study would attend to whether it then furthers 1) greater Catholic participation in the wider North American faith community and 2) the role of religion in U.S. and Canadian public life. In so doing, it would explore the distinctive contribution that religion can make to public issues, especially environmental issues and climate change.