As the world moves closer to a biblical armageddon, with U.S., EU and NATO forces inching toward the last war on planet Earth staged amongst enemies from the Old World Order, I hear “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” I hear the channeled spirit of Francis of Assisi: “Laudato Si’!”

It is no surprise that some in Congress and many reactionary conservatives in America are unnerved by Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical issued June 18, especially those who promote and promulgate the very policies that Francis has blamed in his landmark encyclical.

Without reference to specific persons, and while not singling out the capitalist system, he has indicted unbridled market forces that have overtaken common sense, ethics, morality and the common good of all humankind.

Scolded by critics for entering political territory and siding with scientists who have been marginalized already by reactionary conservatives, the neoliberal press and climate-change deniers, I ask:

If they can speak out and gain headlines, why shouldn’t he? The world is “three minutes to midnight” on the Doomsday Clock and threatened, if not by ecological disasters triggered by catastrophic climate changes, then by aggressive military forces waged against any and all nations that do not submit to the very destructive forces he implicates.

Francis has appealed to both reason and morality. The message is clear: We have a choice before us now to live in peace and respect for each other and with the planet or to die together.

The next paradigm now emerging for our world will be built upon this rock.

Michael T. Bucci