Public Lecture on Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

Date(s) - May 26, 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

SFU Harbour Cente

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Note: A workshop is scheduled on May 27th for those who are interested in a more in-depth discussion of Pope Francis and the issues raised in the public lecture. Rabbi Philip Bregman, Dr. Donald Grayston, and Jennifer Rae Pierce will be responding to Dr. Zucchi’s lecture prior to an open discussion with a small audience. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in participating in this workshop.

Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Sí is a groundbreaking document. Although Francis is not the first pope to address environmental issues in a robust way, the fact that he has dedicated a major letter to Catholics and “all people of good will” sends a message to the world about the significance the Catholic Church attributes to environmental concerns. 

John Zucchi delivers a word of warning to Catholics, non-Catholics or non-Christian believers or to those of no particular faith adherence: we mustn’t assume we have understood the Pope’s message. We must try to understand what it is that Francis is telling us and why. It is easy for us to think we have already understood the message either because we have a deep concern for the environment or because we think that human-caused global warming is a myth. In other words, the Pope is not simply repeating old arguments. He wants us to have a sense of the deep reasons that sustain his position on humankind’s relationship with the natural world. Zucchi’s address, which will allude to literature and cinema will introduce us to Francis’s concerns and will help us understand why Pope Francis offers men and women the path he does for a new approach to the environment.


Dr. John Zucchi is a professor and past chair in the Department of History and Classical Studies, and a member of the Catholic Studies Program at McGill University. His research and publications are in the area of Canadian migration, ethnicity and religious history.  He is the President of the English Speaking Catholic Council of Montreal and Vice-President of L’Universe Culturel de Saint-Sulpice. Zucchi served as a Member of the Holy See’s Delegation to the Nineteenth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal, September 2007); as Member to the Holy See’s Delegation to the Eleventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and First Conference of the Signatory Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (November-December 2005); and as Vice President, SOS – Boat People, Montreal (1990-6). Dr. Zucchi is a frequent media commentator on Catholic issues.

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