Is the “common home” metaphor adequate and useful for an “integral ecology” theology in modern times?

Maria Isabel Pereira Varanda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



This essay argues that the “common home” metaphor, when applied to planet Earth, falls short in its ability to provide an accurate analogy with the complexity and diversity of the planet itself since it has a limited epistemological, heuristic, and hermeneutical horizon; it is an analogy that proves inadequate in expressing common human representations of home and the two principles that should inspire an Ecotheology: the ontological value of creatures (Gaudium et Spes) and the recognition of the intrinsic relationship between all beings (Laudato Si’). In order to methodologically support this enquiry, a reflexive analysis and a metadisciplinary discourse are used through Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, and the concept of integral ecology, proposed in Pope Francis’s encyclical letter Laudato Si’. On care for our common home, 21 May 2015. The performativity of the “common home” metaphor is evaluated to review its use in Ecotheology. The conclusion reached is that the category of “common life” might be more appropriate than “common home” to characterize how humans inhabit the world for an Ecotheology, and to represent planetary and cosmic communion and interdependence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number198
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2024


  • Common home
  • Ecotheology
  • House
  • Integral ecology
  • Metaphor
  • Planet earth
  • Relational ontology


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