Say what you will about the modern papacy--and I have--you cannot lay at its feet the complaint of it not making its views widely known. Thus, when the current pope of Rome relieved himself of some utterances about ecology recently, Laudato Si' was suddenly heard on the lips of hundreds of millions of people around the world who know nothing of what encyclicals are and knew not the Franciscan reference in that title.
In early October, on the eve of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi in the Latin calendar, the University of Saint Francis in Ft. Wayne is hosting a half-day conference on Laudato Si'. Details here. Admission is free. Come one, come all!
My own paper at the conference is entitled “Ecumenical Ecology: Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, and Caring for Creation.” In essence, I am going to show just how deeply indebted Pope Francis is to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who in many books (most edited by John Chryssavgis) over two decades and more has been arguing in favor of an integral ecology and showing that caring for creation is a deeply rooted Christian impulse and practice. See, e.g., Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation. See earlier works such as On Earth As In Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
For wider-ranging collections treating ecological as well as many other topics, see Speaking the Truth in Love: Theological and Spiritual Exhortations of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
In the World, Yet Not of the World: Social and Global Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
But if you don't have time to read all these books (or the patience to wade through papal ramblings and rantings), then just come hear me on Sat. Oct. 3 as I talk about the unprecedented papal borrowing of Orthodox thought and its official incorporation into a high-ranking (though not problem-free....) document of the Roman Magisterium.