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A three-day gathering at the Vatican sought to offer the depths of the Gospel to the mining industry

Rome's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development hosted a conference this week on “Mining for the Common Good," which was capped with an address by the Holy Father himself.

Attended by other Christian denominations as well as Catholic eco-groups and charities, the event was supported and included representatives of the mining industry from North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Importantly, peoples impacted by mining projects were also in attendance.

As published on the Vatican website, Pope Francis's address was his usual vital blend of theology, previous papal teachings, and current events, bringing an important pastoral contribution to the life-and-death realities of the mining sector.


Dear brothers and sisters,

I extend my warm welcome to all of you and I thank Cardinal Turkson for his introduction. I thank you all for having come to the Vatican to engage in this dialogue on the theme of “Mining for the Common Good”.

In my Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, concerned about the worrying of the Planet, I underlined how important it is “to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (n. 3). We need a dialogue that responds effectively to the “cry of the...

The Diocese of Providence taps yours truly for a video segment on Catholic Ecology.

The ongoing short video series Seek and Find, produced by the Diocese of Providence, released its latest segment today featuring yours truly. The topic, of course, is the Catholic understanding of ecology.

And so, with no further ado, enjoy the show!

The events and liturgies of Holy Week have been a source for many posts over the years.

The great week of Holy Week is upon us—a time like no other, especially this year, with the fires of Notre Dame in Paris, and the miraculous survival of so much of its structure and so many of its priceless and sacred belongings. These events alone remind us of God’s saving power in our fallen world.

Over the years, I’ve posted often on the elements of Holy Week. Now it makes sense to share them all in one spot. So, here you go: a one-stop post for some of the more popular reflections on the eco-connections with this most wonderful and holy time.

And, what better day to do this than on the birthday of Benedict XVI—the "Green Pope!"

May God bless you and yours this week, and may your Easter Triduum be a time of special graces for you and yours—and for the whole world.

Holy Week

Lessons from Holy Week (2015)

Ecology and the Eucharist (2016)

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday: "The gravitational force of God" (2011)

Palm Sunday: Why Catholic ecologists aren’t revolutionaries (2012)

Holy Thursday

...

We seem to have forgotten that the sacramental nature of our faith innately celebrates and heals all creation

During an eco-talk in another diocese, a participant shared with me how her parish celebrated Masses for creation. Special readings were read and hymns were sung, and the entrance procession, she said, included a child carrying an Earth-like beach ball, which would be placed before the altar for the duration of the Mass.

The ball, she said, represented creation.

I hated to burst her bubble, but I explained that the Mass has always been a celebration of creation. Our gifts of bread and wine are actual components of creation that are brought to the altar so that the celebrant may consecrate the Eucharist.

Not only that, but the grace the flows from the Mass—that pours forth from the very body and blood of Jesus Christ—not only embraces those in attendance but contributes to the restoration of the entire created order.

Unfortunately, this ancient reality seems to have been forgotten.

Elsewhere, members of religious orders and Catholic eco-groups are exploring the idea of adding a liturgical "season of creation" to the current liturgical year. This is a disturbing proposal rising out of a lack of appreciation that the focus of the liturgical year is the Creator, not creation. More precisely,...

Divestment decision marks an acceleration in the momentum around climate action

With climate change having a noted impact on water supplies around the world, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Chairperson of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, choose today, World Water Day, to announce that the Episcopal Conference of Austria will divest from all businesses that extract or produce fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

This decision includes all financial investments of the bishops’ conference, all Austrian dioceses, and all other institutions within their sphere.

“By signing the divestment commitment of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) the Austrian Bishops´ Conference joins the global divestment movement of over a thousand institutions. This is a prophetic step that consequently follows the undeniable truth that burning all known fossil fuel reserves will lead us to unthinkable catastrophes”, says Anja Appel, director of the Coordination Office of the Austrian Bishops´ Conference (KOO).

Around the world, Catholic institutions have been leaders in taking concrete steps to address the climate crisis. Austria is the third bishops’ conference to announce its divestment from fossil fuels, following Belgium and Ireland.

These bishops’ conferences join nearly 120 other Catholic institutions that have divested, including large German Catholic banks. These Catholic institutions are the leaders in a global total of...

My March 2019 Rhode Island Catholic column unpacks two big reasons why ecologists cannot champion abortion

March 2019

As I write this, the Rhode Island pro-life community is reeling from the passage in our House of Representatives of a bill that would—among other evils—hardwire into state law the killing of the unborn at any time before birth.

The irony is that many who voted in favor of this legislation, or who supported it, also champion ecological concerns. But one cannot claim eco-friendly credentials and advance the intentional and often brutal ending of a human life.

In fact, pro-abortion politicians (tragically, some of whom are Catholic), and all those who support such a barbaric practice can learn a thing or two from a true appreciation of ecology and the practice of ecological protection. I say this for two reasons that both have to do with the relational nature of creation.

First, as environmental advocates remind us, the health of the natural world is necessary to support human life. Clean air and water, healthy food and an environment free of toxins are necessary for both the born and, often more so, the unborn.

In other words, protecting ecosystems—which are comprised of and nurture life—is a moral necessity. That makes the voices for environmental protection champions 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.