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Caring for our global home benefits from a love of our first ones

Two weeks ago, after I told my mom that one of her sons passed away, I found myself on my front porch watching clouds pushed along by late winter winds. Because I live in the house in which I grew up, the morning’s views and smells were more than familiar to me. They were parts of what had made me. And so they provided comfort—a reminder of my brother Chuck, who would have played in this neighborhood, this yard, and in the nearby woods, over which the clouds were now racing.

In this time of social distancing and quarantines—of people staying close to home—I’ve been thinking about not just my home, but the privilege of getting to grow up and grow old in the house of my boyhood.

Our connection with a place is a sacred reality. We moderns have mostly forgotten this.

Fast-paced urban living, frequent relocations, children of divorced parents having two or sometimes three homes—all these factors, and more, can add up to a lack of any foundation in a place that is home. And with that comes a lack of known lands, skies, and cycles of light and scent that have nurtured you and will continue...

Genesis 2:15 tells us that “The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it." But how can we help to do that?

In November 2015, 364 scientists from 184 countries signed a manifesto in the journal BioScience, an alarm of unprecedented scale, twenty-five years after the first warning from scientists in the world to humanity.

Over the past twenty-five years, the article noted, the quantity of drinking water available per inhabitant had dropped by 26%, the number of dead zones in the oceans had increased by 75%, fishing catches have dropped. The appeal also cites the loss of 120 million hectares of forest.

"Particularly troubling is the current trajectory of a potentially catastrophic climate change, due to the increase in the volume of greenhouse gases (GHG) released by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and agricultural production", underlined the scientists.

Today, mankind consumes an enormous amount of energy and the cost of this energy increases considerably and continuously. It is therefore essential to act to protect our environment in order to avoid many climatic and other ecological upheavals.

Here are some steps you can take to do your part:

Stop Buying/Using Plastic Completely

Plastic has invaded the planet: Every minute around the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased and thrown away literally minutes later. If we add all...

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...


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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.