The Working Document uses complex language that weaves environmentalist ideas into Catholic theology. For example, the document’s introduction discusses “the cry that is provoked by destructive deforestation and extractivist activities and that demands an integral ecological conversion.”
“Integral ecology.” This term, which appears dozens of times in the Working Document, comes from Pope Francis’s 2015 treatise “Laudato Si’.” In short, it means recognizing that everything on Earth is closely tied to everything else. For humans to flourish, we have to understand how vast systems connect and interrelate. As Father Thomas Reese explains, “Relationships take place at the atomic and molecular level, between plants and animals, and among species in ecological networks and systems.” Hence, ecology must be integral, meaning recognizing how everything fits together to create a whole system.
“Ecological conversion.” This is another term the Pope first put forth in “Laudato Si’,” arguing that people need to awaken to nature, just as they convert to Christianity.