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Dr. Chad C. Pecknold summarizes Laudato Si' one-year birthday with clarity and in the light of Catholic orthodoxy

I've been sitting out the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si' as I wrap up a manuscript, which is expected by an editor in July. But Dr. Chad C. Pecknold of Catholic University of America has penned a piece published today in ABC Religion and Ethics that says pretty much everything I'd like to say. He does it in his usual and most excellent way and complete with Hobbit holes.

And so allow me to introduce you to An Integral Ecology: Revisiting Laudato Si', One Year On as I dive into a week with a full-speed ahead focus on my manuscript. (Stay tuned for much more about that.)

One year ago, the Vatican released Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si'. It set off a global firestorm of media coverage unusual for papal encyclicals. Why?

The simple answer is that Pope Francis taps into many of our most fundamental crises in the world today, and connects them. It's not simply an encyclical about the environment, but one on "our common home."

Laudato Si' relates the environmental crisis to the social crises we are all experiencing in a globalized world, but he tells us what we already...

What better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si’ then to bless and turn on a 50kW solar array at your parish school?

As the Catholic eco-world entered a week of celebration, reflection, and study in recognition of the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si’, my pastor and two students at our parish school flipped the switch to its newly installed 50-kilowatt solar energy system.

Helping us were many of the school’s students, parents, faculty, local officials, and the press. (Stay tuned for those stories to be posted soon.)

Father Matthew Glover, the pastor of Saints Rose and Clement (pictured above blessing the solar panels) hit just the right balance in his remarks of solar cheerleading and rooting our thanks in Jesus Christ. Father Matt also gave thanks to his predecessor, Father Edward Wilson, who began the project. (As a side note, I should add that the first parish in the Diocese of Providence to undertake such a project was Father Matt's home parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Bristol. Congrats goes to that pastor, too, Father Henry Zinno.)

I was especially appreciative of a quote Father Matt used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,S.J. It's one of my favorites. “Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the...

The Global Catholic Climate Movement releases its practical how-to guide to help parishes bring Laudato Si’ to life

Talking about Laudato Si is one thing. Changing the status quo is another. Now with the help of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, parishes everywhere can take concrete steps to save money, be healthier, and help protect life and the garden of God that is creation.

The Eco-Parish Guide is simple to use, packed with helpful tips, loaded with real examples form real parishes around the world.

And it’s free.

GCCM’s global coordinator Tomás Insua opens the guide with some helpful context about why Catholic communities should download this guide and use it.

Parishes have an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions because as a Church we operate more than 220,000 parishes globally, which accounts for many times more churches, rectories, offices, other parish buildings, and vehicles that, in using conventional fossil fuels for energy, contribute directly to climate change. Energy savings of as much as ten percent can be achieved in a parish simply through conscious and continuous efforts to use less energy. With some modifications or upgrades to facilities, parishes have enjoyed savings of twenty to thirty percent, and even more in some cases. I also want to encourage parishes

Plans are underway across the globe to keep Laudato Si’ alive well after its one-year anniversary.

International Catholic eco-groups like the Global Catholic Climate Movement want you to know about “Laudato Si’ Week,” June 12th through the 19th, and they want us all to take part. The goal is to keep the spotlight on the Holy Father’s eco-encyclical, and to continue putting it into action.

To help, the GCCM has initiated “Laudato Si Animators,” which hopes to promote the messages of Laudato Si’ and help turn it into action in our local communities, "whether that be a parish, school, religious congregation, lay group, youth organization, retreat center, Boy Scout troop, or more.”

Laudato Si Animators is intended to be a global network of Catholics “committed to bringing Laudato Si to life.” Anyone who signs up as an Animator is asked to participate in online trainings with experts and environmental leaders to help organize around Laudato Si Week events. According to the GCCM, the initial period will be focused on organizing at least one Laudato Si' event in your community as part of Laudato Si Week.

Events can take the form of a workshop, prayer service, study group, nature walk, or a community service project.

Ensuring that Laudato...

There’s a reminder in Laudato Si’ that we must keep front and center this Earth Day and every day

There will be lots of Earth Day events and lots of words written about them. One of the most significant happenings is the signing by a great many faith representatives of the Interfaith Climate Statement to World Leaders. The goal of this show of unity is to keep civil leaders moving forward on the promises made at COP21.

From this international blockbuster of an event to the many local trash cleanups and rallies, talks and prayer services around the world, there is a common theme that must be acknowledged and amplified. This theme was presented in pithy form by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, and I suggest we keep it front in center in our work.

We know that a lot has happened since Earth Day 2015. Think about it. In a few weeks we’ll be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the issuance of Laudato Si’. In that year many have carried its message forward on college campuses, in businesses, in parishes, and in daily life. This culminated in Paris at COP21, where the voice of the Church and of all faiths helped push those talks further than they have gone in two decades. In all,...

NASA scientist and Catholic Climate Covenant ambassador Anthony Strawa knows why we should be concerned about climate change, and why we have hope

He’s an atmospheric scientist and director of the New Opportunities Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center. He served some thirteen years heading up NASA’s Aerosol and Microphysics Group and is a past associate editor of the Journal of Aerosol Science.

He is also the chair of the Diocese of San Jose’s Catholic Green Initiative and a Climate Ambassador for the US-based Catholic Climate Covenant.

Suffice it to say, Anthony Strawa knows what happens to planet Earth when pollution—particularly particulates—fouls our atmosphere, especially as a result of burning of fossil fuels. He also knows what this means for people of faith—especially for his brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church.

Anthony Strawa

“I felt for a long time that this is really a moral issue,” Strawa told Catholic Ecology last week. “For some time when I talked about climate change, I did so from mostly a scientific perspective, and did not get the response I hoped. But when I started talking about it as more of a theological or moral issue, I seemed to have connected a little more with folks.”

Strawa said that the language of...


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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.