What does Pope Francis mean by the term "rapidification"? 

Pope Francis uses the word “rapidification” to refer to an acceleration in the pace of life and work which causes anxiety to individuals, places strain on communities, and harms the environment.

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In his second encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home, Pope Francis focuses on the state of the earth’s environment, examining what human beings have done to cause the environmental problems we face, and how we must act to improve matters. A key concept in the Pope’s message is “rapidification.” This is a word Pope Francis employs to refer to the increasingly hectic pace of life, and hunger for constant change which he regards as characteristic of the twenty-first century.

The Pope emphasizes that much change is good and necessary, and says that the encyclical itself is a call for change. However, rapidification is an unnecessary and destructive increase in the pace of change, which contrasts with the slow rhythm of natural processes. Rapidification involves constant pressure for unsustainable material development, and this puts pressure on individuals and communities as well as the environment. The Pope emphasizes the connection between humanity and the planet on which we live. People cannot harm the earth without also harming themselves. While some commentators represent an ever more rapid pace of life and increased production of consumer goods as being necessary for human development, the Pope argues that rapidification actually prevents people from developing in the ways that matter most.

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