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In a world of half-measures, of relativism, of political correctness, to hear someone calling things by their name causes surprise. And if to do so is the Pope, this Pope, then the effect is disruptive. Even more when being called into question are the most powerful people of the Earth and the lobbies. Yet the Holy Father does not speak in general, does not shoot randomly to the crowd: he calls each of us to our individual and personal responsibility, to our individual humanity that is part of a whole which is God’s creation, in constant harmony with our Mother Earth. Humanity and Nature are not separated, if one of them gets sick, the other hurts as well. They are united in a common fate.

Francis therefore speaks without “hiding” the concepts, because the life of the whole humanity is at stake. Words that sound like real slaps, useful to get out of the numbness in which we have fallen, of our carefree irresponsibility that has no other purposes but that, ephemeral, of maintaining our lifestyles.

First slap: politics is subjugated by finance. The concept is clear: if the nature of the politician is to make the general interest, that the one of the financier is to accumulate profits. When the former is at the service of the latter, global choices are likely to be made to privilege the few at the expense of the many. Invasive and improper exploitation of the resources of the planet, especially in the poorest areas of the world, is the plastic representation of it. Not thinking about the global consequences of such an attitude is irresponsible and suicidal.

Second slap: there are two separate crisis, an environmental and a social one. The reasons for which a site is polluted require an investigation into the society and its economy. The hypocrisy with which governments notice humanitarian emergencies after they have caused them – not only directly with wars but also indirectly with the control of water and food provisions, not interested in a fair redistribution of resources – has become intolerable . If we do not take this assumption for real, we cannot understand the reality, for example the close relationship between the poor ones and the fragility of the planet, or the increasing number of invisible migrants, those that go to rich countries running away from misery compounded by degradation; and who, moreover, are not even recognized by international conventions.

Third slap: Christians cannot turn aside. The denial of the problem, the indifference with which they look at the balance of the planet, the convenient resignation as well as the blind faith in technical solutions: all these are ways to avoid a personal involvement.

Fourth slap: the fake solutions. Trying to solve the problem of the world hunger, and the related drama of the lack of water, controlling the birth rate is a deliberately wrong approach. In this way, attention is turned to effects rather than causes, because doing so would result in the re-allocation of global resources, now in the hands of a few.

Fifth slap: the dirty business of water. The Pope clearly states that “the access to safe drinking water is an essential human right, fundamental and universal, because it determines the survival of the people and this is a condition for the exercise of other human rights”. Depriving the poor people of access to water means to deny “the right to life rooted in their inalienable dignity”. Moreover, the Pope issues an alert about this matter: water management will be one of the major sources of conflict in this century.

Sixth slap: delusions of grandeur. The man, with his action in the world, has caused huge problems of environmental balance. To repair the damage done, he is seeking scientific solutions that are causing others. And so on, in a continuous run in order to re-create a world to suit himself, as required. This is a slap to the Creation, and an illusory path to follow.

Seventh slap: the “disposable” logic. All kinds of waste, environmental or human that is, that treats others and nature as mere objects and that leads to a myriad of forms of domination. It is a position that leads to exploit children, to abandon the elderly, to reduce others to slavery, to overestimate the ability of the market to regulate itself, to practice human trafficking, to trade the leathers of animals at risk of extinction and of “blood diamonds”.

Eighth slap: work robbed of dignity. In any “setting of integral ecology, which does not exclude the human being, it is essential to integrate the value of work”, and “renouncing to invest in people in order to get more immediate profit is a bad deal for society”.

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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