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Catholics (should) bring a clarity and integrity to the fight for life that political extremes don't

Toxins harm all humans, especially the fragile lives of the unborn.

In medical or scientific communities, this is not a controversial statement. Within many fields, it’s well known that the presence of certain chemicals can derail the development of a child’s nervous system and brain—a process that takes off about ten days after conception.

During this time, a series of specialized cells relocate within a person’s developing body and align to form the nascent spinal cord. This simple array of cells then moves, divides, multiplies, connects with other cells, and forms structures that fold into specialized areas that become the brain and spinal column. It’s a miraculous process that must occur with exacting precision if the child is to form normally. Toxins—such as mercury or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—can create small but disastrous breakdowns in this process, crippling the unborn baby.

Maybe even killing them.

This ecological and public health truth seemed to have gone unnoticed by congressional Democrats last week, a timely omission as preparations were underway for Washington D.C.'s 47th March for Life, which will flood the nation’s capital with waves of young and old, men and women of many faiths or none, and of a full spectrum...

As fires scorch a continent, there's work for us all. Including prayer.

In response to the devastation unfolding in Australia, Fr. Charles Rue penned the following prayer and has graciously offered to share it with Catholic Ecology. Please add this to your daily prayers and share it widely.

Fr. Rue, a Missionary Society of St Columban, has worked overseas in South Korean parish work and as a teacher of liturgy. Since the Columbans adopted eco-faith work in 1988, inspired by Fr. Sean McDonagh, Fr. Rue has been campaigning and writing to link ecological awareness and the Catholic faith.

Creative and Nurturing God,
we weep in the face of dry land and bushfires,
dying crops and animals,
traumatised families and communities.

Our land evolved in Your wisdom over eons.
Some people learned to live within its boundaries
thriving in its fruitfulness, and in humility
responded with gratitude and praise for its gifts.

Often with good intentions,
we have imposed out ideas of progress and prosperity
demanding lifestyle benefits and production
that push the land beyond its capacities.

Teach us to listen to the land with humility.
Send the Spirit of Jesus to teach us respect.

You can learn a lot from watching a disease lay waste to your mother. Lessons of despair and sorrow, for sure, but also of joys and hopes—from the help of consummate medical professionals to neighbors and old friends, all working as a team.

It's been months since I've posted. And for weeks, now, I had intended to at least write a wrap-up of the year’s big eco stories, but time and other demands didn’t allow it. Still, some things need to be said.

As I had written about before, the effort to keep my mom at home prevents me from spending much time at the keyboard. Her care has to be my priority. After all, how can one speak with any legitimacy about saving the world without first taking care of a suffering parent?

But there was another reason I’ve written so little of late, especially here.

A goal at Catholic Ecology has been to bridge divides. I’ve begun to wonder, however, what point there is in trying to do this in a world and a Church that often seem so happily divided. Especially when it comes to environmental protection.

The recent Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon...

The Holy Father calls special attention to the Season of Creation in Sunday Angelus

Pope Francis championed today the start of the Season of Creation in a special message at the conclusion of his Sunday Angelus:

Today, 1 September, is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. This is an ecumenical prayer, which enlivens awareness and commitment to protect our common home, starting from a more sustainable individual and communal lifestyle. From today until October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, it's a favorable time to praise God for all his creatures and to acknowledge our responsibility to hear the cry of the Earth. (Translated from the Italian.)

Francis had earlier released a message in light of the Season of Creation, which is provided in full below.

With September 1 upon us, life in Rome and in the eco-movement will get busy again, and, I hope, so will life at Catholic Ecology. Many of you have noted this summer's lack of posting, which I'll make special mention of in an upcoming post on the state of things in the Church, the world, and my corner of creation. Stay tuned.

For now, let us pay heed to the words of Pope Francis as we...

In a message to the scientific community, Cardinal Peter Turkson both acknowledges hope and seeks "an intervention"

It's been four years since His Holiness Pope Francis raised Catholic eco teachings to the level of an encyclical. Since then, many within the faithful have worked hard to help the Church and the world "live Ladauto Si'." This week, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, His Eminence Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, delivered this message to the scientific community to maintain the needed eco-momentum.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the scientific community,

Some time ago, Pope Francis received some of your colleges, led by the French climatologist Jean Jouzel, a long-serving member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They shared the profound concerns of many scientists, experts in the field, regarding the current climate crisis, caused by man’s interference in nature.

In 2015 I published the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, [1] moving from concerns about the “cracks in the planet that we inhabit” (LS 163) and hoping to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (LS 3). Its publication was intended to encourage the work of the COP 21 Summit, which led to the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change, aiming to maintain the average...

“Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People” should be on every Catholic’s summer reading list.

“There are no single-issue saints.”

In sharing this observation by Archbishop José H. Gomez, Dr. Charles C. Camosy summarizes his latest project, an insightful book that covers a host of hot-button issues in an attempt to bridge divides—a much-needed goal these days.

In his own words. Camosy is attempting to “show what it might look like to live fundamental principles consistently across a range of issues.” He seeks “to focus on underlying values” not engage in “pointed discussions of policy and politics,” the kind that “currently assail and divide our culture.”

Gladly, Camosy is successful in his endeavor.

“Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People” (New City Press, 374 pages) provides the briefest of overviews of Catholic thought on a host of issues. Then the book dives into them. The brevity of the overview is sufficient to get the point—and in this regard, Camosy does what I wish more academics of his caliber would do: write for the average person in the pew.

Camosy’s style is detailed but always accessible. It’s also refreshingly calming as he engages topics most normally heard with fire and fury.

No man is an island

Camosy’s desire to...


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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.