The Eucharistic Vision of Laudato Si'
Praise, Conversion, and Integral Ecology
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
No other encyclical has generated as much conversation—both Catholic and non-Catholic—as Laudato si’. Often forgotten in these conversations is the theological heart and eucharistic vision of the encyclical and its integral ecology. Even the title of Laudato si’—"Praised be!"—signals the centrality of right praise in caring for our common home. Using Bernard Lonergan’s theology of history, this book unearths the doxological, eucharistic vision that shapes the encyclical’s integral presentation of social and ecological conversion. It offers the first book-length study that recovers the eucharistic nature of Laudato si’.
In drawing out the eucharistic vision of Laudato si’, the book accomplishes several feats for the reader. It roots the eucharistic dimensions of the encyclical in the writings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, showing how Pope Francis develops their thought in notable ways. It introduces Bernard Lonergan’s theology of history, showing how his framework can capture the eucharistic contours of caring for our common home; so too, in light of Laudato si’, does the book expand his theology of history to incorporate both ecological concern and the doxological, eucharistic essence of the church. The book assembles a liturgically shaped, systematic account of the church’s social mission. It joins poles otherwise sundered in a polarized church and world: between worship and justice, between concerns for human life and concerns for the natural world. Realizing the eucharistic vision of Laudato si’ promises much for our contemporary moment.
Pope Francis recently observed that the integral ecology of Laudato si’ holds the key for the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Catholic Bishops recently launched a Eucharistic Revival that aims to rekindle eucharistic devotion and praxis. The Eucharistic Vision of Laudato Si’ : Praise, Conversion, and Integral Ecology supplies a timely study that helps fulfill these intertwined calls.
"Makes an important and, I would go so far as to say, essential contribution to the field of theology and ecology. As the introduction notes, there is a tendency for Catholics, especially American Catholics, to pick and choose which aspects of Catholic Social Teaching they will embrace, and that the principle of selection is almost always their political affiliation, rather than their Catholic commitment. By providing a robustly Catholic articulation of ecological engagement, and particularly one grounded in the Eucharist, Briola allows for a reassertion of the seamless garment of church teaching, and, one hopes, a means of crossing the partisan impasse."~Eugene R. Schlesinger, Santa Clara University
"This wonderful book puts the pieces of a Christian's life together, connecting the liturgy and praise of God to the way we encounter our material world and each other. Briola fruitfully joins Catholic Social Teaching with liturgical theology to promote an integrated and joyful practice of everyday life. Simultaneously scholarly and pastoral, Briola's analysis challenges both progressive and conservative churchgoers to let our Christian identity form our politics, and not vice-versa."~William T. Cavanaugh, DePaul University
"In The Eucharistic Vision of Laudato Si' Lucas Briola proves himself to be a fitting successor to Virgil Michel and Bernard Longeran alike. He masterfully reads ecclesial documents, liturgical-sacramental theologians, and Lonergan's account of history and values. Michel's premature death meant that a full integration between social theory and liturgy had not yet been accomplished. Briola, in one of the best books I have read on the thought of Pope Francis, not only upholds the theological, sacramental, and prophetic vision of Laudato Si', he provides a new way of doing social ethics grounded in a sacramental cosmos."~Tim O'Malley, University of Notre Dame
"Aware of the need for the Church to think about and act cohesively to address threats to the life-supporting capacity of Earth that most adversely affect poor and vulnerable people, Lucas Briola presents a compelling systematic analysis of magisterial teachings that bifurcate human and natural ecologies, helpful aspects of Bernard Lonergan’s theology of history and mission of the Church, impressive advancements of Lonergan’s thinking by Robert Doran about the integrated scale of values and the Church’s role in mediating societal redemption, and Pope Francis’s ‘integral ecology’ teachings that recognize humans as constituents of a common home shared with other species and abiota who together praise God according to their natures. Briola’s perceptive exploration of ‘eucharistic praise’ in Laudato Si’ as the framework within which the Church can lead "from above" to address a plethora of interrelated social-ecological challenges is indeed praiseworthy."~Jame Schaefer, Marquette University