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Mary Taylor helps us read Laudato Si' in light of relational, trinitarian Communio thought

My friend Mary Taylor has graciously shared her thoughts on Laudato Si’. Mary is a consulting editor of Communio: International Catholic Review, an important journal and school of thought that, Mary tells us, echoes through Laudato Si’.

Mary holds degrees from Yale Divinity School and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and was a long-time friend and colleague of the late Stratford Caldecott.

The first half of Mary’s essay introduces us to Communio in light of Laudato Si’. The second looks more closely at how to read Laudato Si' in light of the Communio influences, especially related to key language and themes in the pope’s encyclical.

And so a big thank-you to Mary for her guest post, which will help us all better read Laudato Si' and so respond more fully to what Pope Francis is actually saying.

I have been reading with interest the reactions to Laudato Si', and many of them call to mind the famous story of the blind men and the elephant (each touched a part of the elephant, and then concluded that an elephant was very like a snake, or a tree...

The Church and Catholic eco-activists reach across faiths, aisles, and continents as momentum builds from Laudato Si'

As we in the States have slowed to celebrate July 4th, the Church is in high gear responding to Laudato Si’. From Rome to the Philippines to Warsaw and New York, planning, forging partnerships, and building momentum have been the activities of the week and will be for the foreseeable future.

A determined response to Laudato Si’ began last Sunday with a coordinated showing of thanks for Pope Francis and his eco-encyclical by thousands from various faiths and continents.

Organized primarily by the interfaith eco-groups Green Faith and its offshoot Our Voices, participants marched from the French Embassy (as a nod to the upcoming climate talks in Paris) and concluded in St. Peter’s Square, just in time for the scheduled Sunday Angelus by Pope Francis.

"Nothing like the march to St. Peter's Square has ever happened,” said one of the organizers, Jeff Korgen of Green Faith and a founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

“Led by representatives of the world's religions, secular and religious people walked together to thank Pope Francis. Our numbers increased even more when pilgrims to the Vatican asked to carry our ‘leaves’ signs...

On the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, these daily meditations end with Pope Francis's desire for unity

It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face. Laudato Si', 15

There are two reasons why the closing of these daily reflections on Laudato Si’ takes place on the closing of the Feast of SS Peter and Paul.

First, we should be mindful always of the wisdom and examples that come from the foundations of our faith—from the real people who sought to understand in their age how faith in the Risen Christ was to be lived. At the same time we must see in our present age what will carry us—and the Gospel—into the times to come.

Revelation is like a ship's bow, a constant that slips through history, illuminating and elevating human and cosmic affairs as it travels onward. Benedict XVI brought this awareness into his priestly and academic life, through his work with the Second Vatican Council, into his pontificate, and thus into the life of the Church today. It’s a long story, but it’s enough to say that Benedict XVI stressed this historical quality...

Day 11's look at Laudato Si' reminds us what today is all about

On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality. It also proclaims “man’s eternal rest in God”. In this way, Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity. We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. ... Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others. And so the day of rest, centred on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor. Laudato Si', 237

In honor of the Sabbath, today's post simply calls to mind what the Sabbath is and, providentially, how the psalm for today's liturgy echoes the intent of Laudato Si'....

Day 10: Supporters of the US Supreme Court’s mandate of same-sex marriage should think twice about applauding Laudato Si'.

A misguided anthropocentrism leads to a misguided lifestyle. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I noted that the practical relativism typical of our age is “even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism”. When human beings place themselves at the centre, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative. Hence we should not be surprised to find, in conjunction with the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power, the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests. There is a logic in all this whereby different attitudes can feed on one another, leading to environmental degradation and social decay. Laudato Si’, 122.

My plan for today was to post on the big thank-you rally for Pope Francis tomorrow in St. Peter’s Square. Organized by eco-groups from around the world, the march to the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus is meant to show the great appreciation for Laudato Si’.

My plans changed with news on Friday that the United States Supreme Court redefined the civil understanding of marriage. In the hours that followed, many voices that cheered Laudato Si’ a week ago...

The good news is that there are lots of Catholic and scientific resources to help you, your parish, and your diocese discuss climate change

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. … Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.” Laudato Si’ (25)

Pope Francis focuses on climate change in only four of the 246 paragraphs in Laudato Si'. In them he gives an overview of the science and consequences of a warming climate. He also exhorts us—especially those with means—to do more “to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced.”...


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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.