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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,...

Protecting creation is a core Catholic idea—and it goes far beyond the secular notion of eco-protection.

For Catholics, Earth Day is every day for reasons uniquely rooted in the intersection of faith and reason. Catholics look at ecological protection informed by both divine revelation and the harsh realities we know from science and human experience.

This comes with three takeaways that every Catholic should know, share, and live.

1. Our faith is deeply pro-creation. This point can’t be hammered home enough. For Catholics, creation is kind of a big deal because God made it, Christ entered it, and the Church uses it to mediate grace through the Seven Sacraments (especially the Mass)—to say nothing of the promises of the Resurrection for a new heaven and a new earth. This means that eco-protection (that is, caring for the natural order) is non-negotiable for Catholics.

2. Being pro-creation means you’re pro-life and pro-marriage. This also needs to be hammered home again and again. Eco-protection and defending human life, as well as the means by which human life is brought into the world, go hand in hand. We cannot be in the streets saving seals without also fighting for the unborn, the elderly, and the marginalized. Sure, we may have to pick and...

A brief essay by Catholic Ecology's Bill Patenaude looks at a surprising message in Laudato Si' about our expectations of government

Ave Maria Press invited me to contribute to their latest Ave Explores Series with a look at the convergence of government and faith. This was fun to write, since I've had over two decades to reflect on this after my return to the Church in 1999, at which point I had eleven years under my belt as a government regulator.

Here's part of the opening:

In praising international agencies and non-profit organizations for their work in the Amazon ... Pope Francis rightfully applauds efforts to ensure that government fulfills “its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve its country’s environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests.” (LS 38). He also makes a general call for pressuring governments to “develop more rigorous regulations, procedures, and controls” for the protection of local, regional, and worldwide ecosystems (LS 179).

To be fully appreciated, however, these expectations require a complete reading of Laudato Si’ with its Christian understanding of the human person and its “everything is connected” call to nurture and protect both our common home and each other. The role of government must certainly include rules and regulations and the will and...

The great Fiat of Mary changed humanity and all creation forever, a fact that elevates the work of protecting the natural world.

Given its natural placement nine months before Christmas, the Feast of the Annunciation typically falls sometime during the end of Lent—a time when our focus draws to what Mary’s Yes made possible: The Cross and Resurrection.

In three ways that stem from Christ’s saving presence, the Annunciation is especially important for Catholic ecologists.

The Annunciation’s and the natural world.

A great heresy of the early Church—one that festers still among the often “spiritual but not religious” among us—is the denial of the goodness and the permanence of nature. Rebellious sects outside of and within the Church were especially vocal during its first few centuries. They believed that the brokenness of the world, that sickness and death, meant that the created order was something from which we must flee.

In response, the Church made certain to codify the books that would be recognized as scriptural—hence the formation of the Bible. As part of this process, it maintained the canonical status of the Hebrew Scriptures, which some voices had wanted to suppress.

A key moment of the Hebrew Scriptures is, of course, the creation of everything. Including humanity.

Millennia ago, pagan creation myths, such as this Babylonian one, viewed...

Dr. Dan DiLeo of Creighton University has been on the front lines of climate advocacy for years—and he’s about to share why all Catholics should be there, too.

Eco- and climate advocacy is fundamental to what it means to be Catholic, says Dr. Dan DiLeo, a Creighton University faculty member, long-time climate activist, and friend to these pages. “Care for creation is a virtue that’s essential [for Catholic mission]—not optional or secondary,” DiLeo told Catholic Ecology, noting that that statement echoes Saint John Paul II’s 1990 World Day of Peace message as well as Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’.

DiLeo will be offering a deep dive into this proposal in a special online presentation this Monday, “Climate Change and Catholicism: Climate Justice as Essential to Catholic Mission.”

The March 22 talk (which will begin at 7:00 p.m. Central Time) is part of Clarke University’s Frederic and Emma Schemmel Endowed Lecture in Theology series. Following DiLeo’s lecture, the Archbishop of Dubuque, The Most Reverend Michael Jackels, will offer a response.

Questions and discussion will conclude the evening.

DiLeo told Catholic Ecology that his lecture will explore four key areas: Love ( as seen as justice), ecclesiology, and missiology; care for God’s creation and climate justice; U.S. Catholic potential and failure, and; future pathways.

“Overall, this is not about ethics, but ecclesiology,” said DiLeo. “We’ve had the...


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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.