The resource crisis: The speech act of the pope

Even though he usually speaks about God, Pope Francis has also expressed his great concern about the greatest crisis of this century: the resource crisis. The Pope's way of warning is quite exceptional: it is a speech act by which he tries to intensify the awareness that no one may regard the earth and its treasures as personal property, even if, paradoxically, he or she has paid for them. The fruits of the earth belong to no one and everyone, now and in the future. Paul van Geest expounded this speech act in his lecture at the Resource Wende conference.

Even though he usually speaks about God, Pope Francis has also expressed his great concern about the greatest crisis of this century: the resource crisis. Even before the outbreak of the corona crisis, he warned of the disastrous consequences of the alarming shortages of resources, commodities, which will manifest themselves in the foreseeable future. The Pope's way of warning is actually quite exceptional.

His vision of the interplay between economy and ecology and the dynamics involved, in which the rich exhaust the earth at the expense of the poor, thus endangering world peace, might sound like the most obvious thing in the world to you. But the speech act, with which he wants to bring his readers in the West to understand and turn around is striking and exceptional. The combination of content and form is effective: certainly when it comes to intensifying the awareness that no one may regard the earth and its treasures as personal property, even if, paradoxically, he or she has paid for them. The fruits of the earth belong to no one and everyone, now and in the future. 

Professor

Prof. dr. Paul van Geest

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Read the exposition of the Pope's message by Paul van Geest

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