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“The Biggest Little Farm” documents truths rarely offered on the big screen—and does so beautifully

“Art consists of reshaping life, but it does not create life nor cause it.” Stanley Kubrick

A new, must-see film about a young couple struggling to farm in cooperation with nature is, at its core, a film about life—about its cycles and interconnectedness, its joys and sorrows, its dignity, beauty, and, especially, its inherent order.

In other words, it’s a film about truth, beauty, and goodness.

"The Biggest Little Farm" should be seen for these lessons, yes. But you’re also going to enjoy its striking cinematography. Frame after frame caresses the film’s most important character: Apricot Lane Farm, with its once-dead landscape now green, wet, and alive. It’s imagery you want to walk into. Imagery you can smell and feel squish under your feet.

The ninety-minute film follows John and Molly Chester as they leave their small Los Angeles apartment to rehabilitate a 200-acre farm in the foothills of Ventura County, about an hour north of the city. Neither have prior experience farming. John is a filmmaker (as well as the film’s co-writer and narrator) and Molly is a cook specializing in the use of natural foods.

Combining their talents, they arrive with two goals: to provide their...

Dedicated eco-advocates—especially we Catholic ecologists—should be worried about the ongoing political drama surrounding the Green New Deal.

Progressive politicians here in the States are rightfully calling for drastic eco-action. But they’re going about it the wrong way. While they may be well-meaning, they’re not helping those of us seeking to prompt many of our brothers and sisters in the pews to not only care for God’s creation but to act—and to act decisively.

Two recent conversations prompted me to finally write about this (after several demanding months at home and work, so sorry for the slow pace of posting).

First, I was asked to comment for a story in Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly about what Catholics ought to think about the Green New Deal. Soon after, I was speaking with my former graduate advisor about growing disunity within the Church—as well as the place of ecology in that divide. Ecology hadn’t always been this divisive, he said. Which got me thinking about why it was today.

So, I’ll begin with one of my quotes in the OSV News story:

“When you have hardcore progressive Democrats pushing this issue, it’s immediately going to turn off lots of people who need to listen, because those voices are also championing partial-birth abortion, same-sex marriage and all these

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 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,...


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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.