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The Fifth Directive of the Global Ethic and Laudato Si’: Foci for Dialogue

June 1, 2023

This article was written by Dawn M. Nothwehr, a former Trustee of PoWR, and published on June 1, 2023 by Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC).

From August 14-18, 2023, approximately 8,000 people from across the globe – religious, spiritual, or not – will convene at Chicago’s McCormick Place, as the Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR). Just 130 years ago, Charles Carrol Bonney, a Chicago lawyer and member of the Swedenborgian Church, found the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition’s singular, secular, and triumphalist fete of modernity’s economics, science, and industry sorely inadequate to compensate for the loss of true religion’s positive influence over world affairs…The 1993 Parliament, in Chicago, adopted Towards a Global Ethic – An Initial Declaration. Four Directives address commitments to a culture of: Nonviolence and respect for life; Solidarity and a just economic order; Tolerance and a life of truthfulness; and Equal Rights and Partnership between men and women. At the 2018 PoWR in Toronto, the 5th Directive, elaborating a commitment to “A Culture of Sustainability and Care for the Earth,” was amended to the text.[6]

Today numerous amplifications of the 5th Directive exist, most notably for Islam,[7] Hinduism,[8] Sikhism,[9] and Buddhism.[10] For CatholicsLaudato Si’– On Care for Our Common Home (LS) provides extensive authoritative specification of the 5th Directive.  The Vatican and other Church agencies stress doing ecojustice activities with interreligious engagement.[11]  LS is “affirmed by ‘a global community,”…. [and]…. “fits in terms of its audience, and the intended applicability of its vision, norms and aims, which embrace the whole world of human beings and other life.”[12] Here I offer some examples, pairing LS and the Fifth Directive, indicating potential for interreligious dialogue and action, serving the Parliament’s goals…

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