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Revealing footage of Planned Parenthood's views of the dead should have ecologists up in arms

Here in the States, the bloodstained reputation of Planned Parenthood has been getting bloodier with the back-to-back release of videos showing its executives discussing maximizing monetary benefits by selectively protecting valuable organs of unborn babies during abortions. Harvested from the hundreds of thousands of abortions Planned Parenthood performs annually, certain organs are considered in these videos (and apparently in the culture of Planned Parenthood) to be nothing more than commodities.

The videos are ghastly. So is the response by some who are trying to salvage the reputation of Planned Parenthood and along with it the practice of killing the unborn. Those who should not be in this camp are anyone who champions Pope Francis’s eco-encyclical Laudato Si’.

Here's why:

Pope Francis explicitly exhorts against abortion in Laudato Si’ and, of course, elsewhere.

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? (LS 120)

And...

While critics complain that Rome should not welcome those with different views, doing so is who we are as Christians

We celebrate the three wise men in Matthew’s Gospel every January on the Feast of the Epiphany. Then we put them and their lessons away until next year. But really, we should keep this event in our hearts always.

These strangers from far-off lands were not Jewish and they came not knowing Christ—yet we sing their praises and proclaim their encounter with the King of Kings thanks to Matthew, who thought the event an important historical detail to capture.

Why, then, are so many today so afraid today when non-believers journey to the Vatican to confer on eco-issues?

A few weeks back activist Naomi Klein spoke at a pontifical conference. In a few days, mayors and other political leaders will follow to discuss human trafficking and climate change. Klein and these leaders are, I think, something like the new magi of the East.

Certainly they won’t all be doing Christ homage. But some might have their soul touched while working with the Church on issues of common concern to both.

An interesting detail not present in Matthew’s account is how many magi came to Christ in Bethlehem. The number three is traditional—one of those memories kept alive in...

A fledgling eco-group takes wings with the intercession of a great saint

It would be an oversight to let the day go by without mentioning one of the great patron’s of environmental protection: St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), whose feast we celebrate today.

I posted a reflection a few years ago on what she means for us all—and why. Today it seems appropriate to call attention to a budding environmental group that takes its name from this important woman and our sister in Christ.

The Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center is already known by many for its collection—probably the largest of its kind—of eco-quotes from popes, saints, and theologians across the centuries.

But you’ll be hearing much more from this group as it expands its efforts into the actual world of woodland, field, and stream.

I have the honor of serving on the Board of the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center with great men and women. The leader among us, however, is Bill Jacobs—an environmental scientist that has been called by his faith to organize a group that keeps politics to a minimum in order to maximize piety and real-world conservation.

Jacobs said that the Center was created to promote Catholic teaching on ecology and the environment,...

Work at an HIV orphanage in Haiti helps everyone learn the joy of the Gospel

While much of the world was busy last month talking about Laudato Si’, two students from Providence College—along with friends and family—were living its lessons.

Nick Hunsaker of Guilford, Connecticut, and Connor Bubulo of New York are transitional juniors at Providence College. They were students in a sustainability course I helped teach last semester. It was evident early in the course that these young men were leaders.

And they certainly showed it these past weeks.

Nick and Connor led a ten-day working visit to La Maison l'Arc-en-Ciel orphanage in Haiti. They organized the trip keeping in mind the orphanage’s long-term goals: to make it fully self-sustainable and eventually creating a supplemental revenue so the orphanage can expand its efforts and buildings to house more at-risk children.

That was the business plan. But as time went on these students and their companions benefited as much as they helped—in fact, probably more so.

Nick’s home parish, St. George’s in Guilford, has for some time been assisting La Maison l’Arc-en-Ciel orphanage. In January Nick enlisted his friend Connor to help. The goals were to meet objectives for a class project and, more importantly, to further their life’s...

Guest post: Dr. Peter Raven of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences reflects on Laudato Si' in light of current ecological indicators

In the second chapter of Genesis, God calls on man to care for and preserve creation, the living world that supports us all. The pressures on the Earth are so great now, however, that we are destroying creation and with it the possibility of carrying forward our civilization. In order to reverse the process, we must come to our senses.

A bit of a historical review will be helpful in putting our current dilemma into context.

We now know that humans have existed on Earth for at least 2.2 million years, a long time but short in the 4.54 billion year history of our planet and the 3-billion-plus year history of life here. It was only about 12,000 years ago when our ancestors began to cultivate specific crop plants for food, and within 2,000 years those crops had become a mainstay for people who built up villages, towns, and cities because they had access to this new source of food. They no longer had to gather good continuously, living in small bands, while moving from place to place.

At the time that crops became fundamentally important to our ancestors, there were only about one million of us on...

Guest post: 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...

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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.