"Nothing in this world is indifferent to us": Laudato Si' as global and planetary medievalism

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In 2015 Pope Francis released Laudato Si', an encyclical call to arms on environmental issues, declaring climate change a problem of urgent proportions. The letter received extraordinary levels of global coverage and was hailed as a necessary and timely intervention by a range of politicians, policymakers, and public intellectuals, many of them avowed secularists. Laudato Si' was able to achieve acclaim and influence because it was immediately available via the Internet—a divinely inspired press release, so to speak. At the same time, Laudato Si' defined itself in terms of the medieval church, taking its name from a poem by Saint Francis and grounding its claims on the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. In so doing, Laudato Si played with multiple temporal registers, drawing on an unbroken spiritual tradition to issue a manifesto within a broken modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-65
Number of pages16
JournalDigital Philology : a journal of medieval cultures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • medievalism
  • environmentalism
  • Pope Francis
  • encyclicals


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