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Every so often Amazon.com does me a favor. While ordering books for school last year, the website suggested an obscure little book by Joseph Ratzinger--now His Holiness Benedict XVI. Written in 1986, it's based on a series of homilies on the creation accounts of the Old Testament. It sounded interesting, it's a subject I'm fascinated with, and figured for $10, how could I go wrong?

Well, I was right. This book is a must read. (And it fits perfectly in a section of my thesis on B16. Praise Amazon.com God!)

First, this little book asks a big question: Why don't more catechists teach about creation and what Genesis is telling us? If you teach religious eductaion and this topic seems unimportant, or too high a hurdle to jump, read "In the beginning." You'll not only have...

Very often the Holy Father says one thing, and the media reports something else. Or they take one line of a lengthy homily or text and make that the center of their conversation.

In Sunday's homily for the solemnity of the Epiphany—the visit of the three wise men—Benedict XVI reflects that all creation resonates with the beauty of the creator; that a true exploration of nature is a pathway to know God. He notes that

the universe is not the result of chance, as some would have us believe. Contemplating it, we are invited to read in it something profound: the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible imagination of God, his infinite love for us. We must not let our minds be limited by theories which come only to a certain point and thatif we look wellare not in fact in concurrence with the faith, but do not succeed in explaining the ultimate meaning of reality. In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, in its grandeur and its rationality we cannot but read...

News that the Holy Father has made appointments to his Council for New Evangelization brought to mind that there are connections between ecological realities and the call to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. These connections shouldn’t come as a surprise.

After all, the truths we proclaim come from the same God who created the laws of life. One such law is the reality that organisms benefit from proximity—indeed, an intimacy—with their own kind as well as other species.

Groupings of plants or animals (or even bacteria) very often form “micro-environments” that assist each individual organism. For instance, in the case of plants, a cluster of foliage creates a shelter that protects the ground from scorching sun, helps retain moisture, and provides physical support in times of stormy weather.

Human cultures act the same way. People grow together in micro-environments called families, parishes and communities. We share each others’ burdens and bounties, and protect each other from harm. A community can absorb injury to its members when survivors respond with...

The very day violent storms hit Arkansas, thousands of birds--mostly red-wing blackbirds--tumbled from the sky. Elsewhere in the aptly nicknamed "Natural State," a major fish kill also has scientists and residents scratching their heads. Of course the media is in a frenzy, and the conspiracy theories are, well, about what you would expect.

While all available evidence points to "natural" causes for the rather spooky bird kill, the fish kill is still more a mystery--although a single-species fish kill is usually caused by disease.

The problem is, while qualified scientists seek answers, it's easy for the less informed and those prone to drama to see evidence of secret military testing, or alien invasions, or that illusive end time.

But a mystery does not imply a supernatural (or extraterrestrial) cause. Sometimes, very natural events occur in a sequence that is partially hidden.

That some of us seek to fill in the missing links with epic, sci-fi or conspiratorial details...

The opening words of We Three Kings are fond, familiar ones. They recount the star, the gold, the frankincense ... but then comes a dark fourth verse, one that few of us sing, or few liturgies allow us to ...

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

There, in the middle of what we often see as a charming Christmas carol, is the Cross of Jesus Christ, illuminated even at the Nativity by that cosmic sign from above. Yes, the Cross that, as the center of world and Salvation history, changed everything for the better--the Cross we should keep close to, so that we may find our Savior on our own pilgrim journeys. Instead, we very often flee from it. After all,...

I hope your New Year's Eve was spectacular. And I hope it included fireworks. If not, enjoy this beautiful little video, compliments of "aaronisnotcool," Austin, Texas. (Thanks, Aaron!) 

Oh, and just so you know, there are some radical environmentally minded folks around--the kind that give a bad name to savvy environmentally minded guys like me--that would like to see fireworks outlawed. Everywhere. No, seriously. It seems the pyrotechnic creations cause too much pollution--although the Disney Corporation figured out a way to lower the pollution levels, and they shared the info widely. Kudos to them. But still, other voices among us are not amused. One put it this way:

In creating and spectating pyrotechnic displays, though, few seem to consider the rather obvious link between fireworks and air pollution. The result is an environmentally irresponsible form of entertainment. 
Okay, so there's some truth to their argument. But in a way, isn't every form of entertainment environmentally irresponsible? Should we outlaw concerts, ball games and Broadway? And anyway, aren't people the real cause of all pollution? Shouldn't we outlaw us? (Oh wait, we've opened that door with the unborn.)

And so my response to these eco-duds...


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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.