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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.


With help from the Catholic Climate Covenant, you can tell the President-elect to take climate change seriously

The United States-based Catholic Climate Covenant is asking Catholics to sign its petition that urges the incoming president to continue the nation’s commitments to address climate change.

Dan Misleh, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, told Catholic Ecology that "the the petition is both a way to engage our thousands of followers and supporters, and a way to put the Trump administration on notice that the Catholic community has a history and a passion for caring for God's creation and for those who suffer because of our environmental neglect."

Endorsed by over a dozen Catholic groups—including the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the US-based Franciscan Action Network—the petition, available online and on paper, makes three appeals:

  1. Maintain the United States’ moral leadership on climate change by honoring the Paris Agreement (COP21) and taking swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025;
  2. Support sustainable development and address the underlying causes of migration by honoring the United States’ initial pledge of $3 billion and further supporting the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change;
Spain’s Diocese of Granada is now home to the Laudato Si’ Institute for the Care of Creation

Seeking to unite the ecological movement with Christian orthodoxy, The Laudato Si’ Institute for the Care of Creation, based in Granada, Spain, is aiming to foster “the study of and education in the care of creation in light of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ and the tradition of Christian social doctrine,” as well as to promote active initiatives “for the application of the encyclical, and especially for the promotion of community development and entrepreneurship, particularly in rural areas, from Christian communities.”

In a preface explaining the formation of the institute, His Excellency Javier Martínez Fernández, Archbishop of Granada, said that contemporary adherents to environmentalism "often see themselves in opposition to traditional Christian positions.”

Thus the institute “will pay special attention to the ethics and aesthetics that derive from the Christian event, that is, from the Christian social tradition whose most recent authoritative document is the encyclical Laudato Si’.”

The Institute's founding statement stresses that it will "strive, through all of its activities, with the help of the Lord and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, to achieve a true excellence in its human relationships – as is fitting for Christians. These will always be its main interest...


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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.