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Recent eco statements by US bishops, and their reception, highlight divisions in the Church

Where the Triune God brings unity, Satan seeks to sow division.

Few truths better explain the ongoing debates and, yes, hostilities within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

From the indissolubility of marriage to immigration, there are many reasons we are divided—many symptoms to the disease of sin. One of these issues is, of course, environmental protection—which is all I’ll focus on here.

Last Friday, His Excellency, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego gave an impassioned speech at a United States gathering of the World Meeting of Popular Movements. Brian Roewe of the National Catholic Reporter provides his usual in-depth coverage of the event and the talk by Bishop McElroy.

The speech was on a variety of topics—mostly a repudiation of the policies of President Trump, including on the environment. His fiery words fired up many of the faithful and infuriated many others. As it is so often, the real story seems to be found in the comments section—that dreaded online netherworld of hostilities and anonymity that bleeds with the modern-day fractures and wounds of the Body of Christ. In Roewe's story, the comments ran from the vilification of the bishop to his pending beatification.


Reusing and repairing takes a hit from a new generation of Monopoly fans that have rejected the thimble

Sorry, all. I’ve been tied up again with book edits. But now they’re complete and shipped off, so it’s time to dive back into the troubled waters of eco protection.

If I may, I’d like to return tonight in the shallow end, with an issue that may not seem all that worthy given everything happening in Washington D.C. and elsewhere.

But then, perhaps it is.

By now you may have heard the news about an online poll taken by Hasbro, the influential toy company based in my home state of Rhode Island. Apparently, last month voters opted to throw away the thimble as a Monopoly token. The thimble has been a mainstay of the board game since its introduction in the 1930s. Now it has succumbed to a generation more familiar with routinely buying new and tossing out worn clothing rather than stitching fabric together at home—a generation besieged every season with the next season’s new must-haves. It's doubtful that many young people today have ever pondered the ontology of a thimble.

Indicators like the this speak volumes. They remind us that the eco wars are not just taking place in the halls of governments or...

The General Secretary of the Laudato Si’ International Institute for the Care of Creation unpacks vital visions for Catholic ecology

Last month I posted on the Laudato Si’ International Institute for the Care of Creation in Granada, Spain, founded by Archbishop Javier Martínez. I promised more news and insights about the Institute, and here it is, thanks to a special interview offered by Michael Dominic Taylor, who serves the organization as its General Secretary.

Catholic Ecology: It seems to me that many responses to the Church’s teachings on ecology—most especially in Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’—focus on employing and/or engaging worldly systems of power (in the public square or on public streets) to bring about policy changes in governments and in the board room. Is the Institute approaching things differently? And if so, how?

Michael Dominic Taylor: Laudato Si’ is, first and foremost, a social encyclical in the line of Rerum Novarum and Pacem in Terris. Pope Francis, like Saint Pope John XXIII before him, who addressed his encyclical “to all men and women of good will,” addressed Laudato Si’ “to all people” (LS, 3). While perhaps to our human perception issues such as imminent nuclear war in the times of Pacem in Terris and the current ecological crises...

Pope Francis applauds the Global Catholic Climate Movement, and all those who labor to protect creation

After huddling in Assisi for a few days of prayer and strategizing, some of the folks behind the Global Catholic Climate Movement made their way to Rome, and then straight into the Paul VI Auditorium at the Vatican for the pontiff's regular Wednesday general audience.

And then, well, you can watch for yourselves ...

More to come one next steps for GCCM and others as we embark into the uncharted territory of 2017, and beyond.

For now, see more on the GCCM gathering in Assisi here. While needs at home kept me in the USA, it's great to have such colleagues working together to help the us all live Laudato Si'.

January 2017

In recognition of Bishop Tobin’s call for a Year with Mary Our Mother on this the centennial of the Marian apparition at Fatima, I posted on my blog that those involved in ecological protection would do well to consecrate our efforts to the Blessed Mother.

If there is one message at the core of ecological pursuits, it’s that humanity needs a change of heart if we’re going to nurture cultures that respect life—human and otherwise—and indeed all of God’s creation.

Mary, the Mother of God—the creature whose assent allowed the Creator to save humanity from within—desires that we all attain the grace to grow in the virtues that save souls, and, as it turns out, ecosystems.

In the second chapter of John’s gospel, Mary comes to the aid of a family hosting a wedding. The wine has run out—an embarrassment to be sure. Mary turns to the only person who can make things right. She approaches her son and tells him “they have no wine.” Jesus seems to resist at first, but Mary pays no heed. She instructs the servers to “do whatever he tells you,” for even she does not know...

The Diocese of Burlington has begun a year of incorporating creation into the life of a local church

While eco advocates in the United States face a change of presidential administrations—and likely an unwelcome shift in emphasis on issues like climate change and energy use—Vermont’s Diocese of Burlington has kicked off a Year of Creation to help bring the message of environmental stewardship into the life of the church.

His Excellency, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne called for the yearlong observance “without hesitation” during preparations for last fall’s global Season of Creation, when he and diocesan staff were considering the many Catholic eco-resources available, including those focused on bringing to life Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si'.

Stephanie Clary, Mission Outreach & Communication Coordinator for the diocese, told Catholic Ecology that once the bishop gave the word for the Year of Creation, the diocese “took it and ran with it.”

See an interview here with Bishop Coyne discussing the Year of Creation at WCAX TV, Burlington.

Clary said her office is heading up special events and liturgical observances for the year, but that every diocesan office is being asked to incorporate environmental stewardship, or some acknowledgement of the Church’s teachings on creation, into their particular missions.



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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.