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Missio Dei examines herbalism and its long use by people of faith

"In truth, not only is Herbal Medicine compatible with Christianity, but it was the Christian monks, nuns and priests of the Catholic Church who preserved the herbal knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome."

A must-read essay by Judson Carroll in Missio Dei tackles not just the subject of herbalism but in doing so it calls attention to an oft-forgotten reality about the Church: It was Catholic religious orders that preserved much of what had preceded them. Too often, the Church is seen as the undoer of ancient knowledge, when in fact quite the opposite is true.

It was (and is) the Catholic love of nature—of all the gifts God offers us in His created order—that allowed it to seek and find in nature the very substances that heal and bind.

For Catholic Ecologists, this is something not just to remember, but also to champion.

Read Carroll's full essay here.

Photo: Flickr/Hornbeam Art: Herbs

Thoughts a year later on grief and life

The truth is, sometimes, in this fallen world, healing is tough. And sometimes, we never again become the people we once were. Anyone suffering through the depths of profound grief will know this. But, as with all shadows in this fallen world, we can learn from our losses and, with God’s grace, grow into someone better.

The last time I posted at Catholic Ecology was one year ago today. Since then, my mom’s Parkinson’s had advanced quickly and my care for her became a twenty-four-hour, everyday vocation, until her last breaths on the first day of Autumn.

I had kept my mom at home, with me, throughout the decade or so when that insidious disease first began to slow down an athletic, joyful, loving woman.

The toll of it all—her physical suffering and loss of independence, her dementia, her hallucinations, all exacerbated by a pandemic’s lockdown, and then her death—has been greater than I could have anticipated. Grief, and all the depression and exhaustion that comes with it, not to mention the post-traumatic numbness that comes after pouring oneself into the job of caring for a loved one, has taken its toll—even if colleagues and acquaintances may think otherwise.


The six-year-old GCCM today announced not just a new name but deeper changes in mission, values

As one of the original founders of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, I was delighted to hear some weeks ago about what’s being announced today: That the Global Catholic Climate Movement, born in 2015 and later inspired by the publication of Pope Francis’s masterful eco-encyclical Laudato Si', was about to take a critical and natural step in its growth.

A Catholic movement made up of more than 800 organizations and thousands of Laudato Si’ Animators around the world, the GCCM spent 2020—the fifth anniversary of its founding—not just in lockdown because of COVID-19, but in the beginnings of a major discernment process about its identity, mission, name, and structures. According to the organization, the process developed in a synodal spirit, involving its members through several rounds of consultations.

One of the most important changes of this process has been the organization’s new mission statement: "To inspire and mobilize the Catholic community to care for our common home and to achieve climate and ecological justice.”

"It is important to note that the mission is being broadened to include the concept of ecological justice, based on the spirit of Laudato Si', where ‘everything is interconnected,’” said Dr. Lorna...

Following up on "Resisting Throwaway Culture," Fordham's Dr. Charles Camosy examines how COVID-19 exposed deep, existing flaws in caring for the elderly, the physically or mentally compromised, and the otherwise least among us

"The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests." (Laudato Si’ 123)

Anyone who provides caregiving for a loved one with physical and/or cognitive failings—such as dementia, neurodegenerative diseases, and on the list goes—will encounter uncomfortably familiar territory in Dr. Charles C. Camosy’s latest book, Losing our Dignity: How Secularized Medicine is Undermining Fundamental Human Equality (New City Press).

As a caregiver of a ninety-three-year-old mother with late-stage Parkinson’s, I could write a review with the word count of Dr. Camosy's book. I know firsthand what it takes to advocate for a patient to sometimes overworked, sometimes uncaring medical professionals. I've had to use terms such as "basic human dignity" at doctor's appointments and have taken other steps to remind a physician or nurse or physical therapist that my mom still has life in her.

Dedicated to his parents “who raised [him] … to see the same...

The Saint Kateri Conservation Center has built a big social media audience these past years. In this guest post, Bill Jacobs, the center's founder, explains how.

Our mission at the Saint Kateri Conservation Center is to promote Catholic faith, ecology, and life. Our programs include social media education and outreach, an online Catholic ecology library, Saint Kateri Habitat Program, Indigenous Peoples Program, and a Catholic land trust.

The center is staffed by volunteers Kat Hoenke and Ronnie O’Brien and myself. Kat and I are professional ecologists, and Ronnie is an educator and farmer who works with Indigenous Peoples. Our board of directors features a variety of professional ecologists, environmentalists, conservationists, and educators.

Since our founding in 2000, we have recognized the value of the internet and social media for reaching the most people possible on a limited budget.

We started online with a Catholic ecology library 21 years ago, sharing authentic Catholic teaching on ecology. This teaching was much more difficult to find in the late 1990s and early 2000s than it is today. We have a search engine in the library that allows users to search quotes and statements from the Bible, saints, popes, and other faithful sources kept in one place.

We have nearly 30,000 followers on social media, which is good but not nearly enough, especially as compared to...

Creighton University and the Catholic Climate Covenant want to help you keep Laudato Si' momentum growing in the US Catholic Church

Catholics in the United States who care about faithfully protecting creation are invited to attend what may very well be a watershed moment for the US Catholic Church. “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home,” or "LSUS," is now accepting registration for the July 13-15, 2021 free, virtual gathering.

Co-sponsored by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University, the event will offer both inspiration and practical takeaways to help one and all better assist their local parishes and dioceses engage eco- and climate issues.

The LSUS conference opens July 13th with keynote addresses by His Eminence Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and Maureen Day, PhD, Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology. Together, they will assess why the U.S. Catholic response to Laudato Si’ has not been commensurate with the urgency and gravity of the climate crisis.

On July 14-15, the conference continues, featuring interactive breakout sessions in eight areas of the U.S. Catholic Church working to more faithfully incorporate Laudato Si’.

These sessions include a session focused on advocacy, communications and the media, working with college and universities,...


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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.