Let me be up front, there is much about the Amazon Synod and synodality as understood by Pope Francis that I find hard to swallow and quite frankly won’t swallow. It’s like the theology of limbo, we can take it or leave it since it isn’t a defined doctrine and certainly not a dogma.
But when I was in the seminary in the 1970’s one of the things I appreciated was the seminary’s emphasis on Gospel simplicity what they called, “Kingdom values.”
Why did I like it? Because that is what the institutional Church modeled, for the most part, prior to Vatican II with most rank and file clergy and religious.
Also, in terms of ecology, I firmly believe our 1950’s secular culture in the USA simply lived by a common sense ecology and simplicity of life.
The vast majority of middle class American prior to the 1970’s lived Kingdom values even if they weren’t religious. We had small homes with small closets and thus few clothes that we children handed down and we had one bathroom and most only had one car and one driver of that car. This resulted in more people using public transportation as my mother and I did in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia in the late 50’s and early 60’s. In Atlanta in the 50’s there were electric buses getting their electricity from above lines.
My mother saved her drippings for later use, was creative with leftovers and there were no plastics. Everything was in cardboard boxes or glass jars and soft drink and beer bottles were to be sent back to the store to be reused and we got a deposit from that. We seldom if ever ate fast food or went to restaurants.
I use to pick up returnable bottles on the way to the corner store and could buy from what I collected a bottle of coke and a candy bar! I considered that free.
My mother saved S&H Green stamps and purchased needed things with these.
My experience of the 1950’s Church in the south is that priests lived below most of us. Their rectories accommodated multiple priests. They drove simple cars and made a very low salary and truly depended on the laity to support them with stipends and gifts. They were poor for the most part.
My pastor in Augusta lived in the sacristy of the Church for more than three years until a new rectory was built next to the church.
Priests had few secular clothes and few clerical clothes and wore a single cassock usually on church grounds but not in public elsewhere.
Nuns lived in huge convents but had maybe two or three habits at the most and were never ever seen without their habit. That all changed after Vatican II when they went to secular clothes. Some had no taste in secular dress but some nuns did. I can remember my mom being scandalized by nuns who dressed better than she. And she wondered just for whom were they making themselves attractive with jewelry and make up?
Institutionally big factories and gasoline with lead and dirty coal polluted the air. These things were beyond most people’s control. But on the practical level of the populace in general, simplicity of life and an integral ecology of not wasting and recycling prevailed as did simplicity of life.