A Lenten gift from the Minnesota Catholic Conference

Just in time for Lenten reading, the public policy arm of the Minnesotan Catholic Church has issued an excellent pastoral examination of all things ecology.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference has set a high bar for local churches with the release of Minnesota, Our Common Home.

Part catechesis, part practical assessment, the easy-to-read document unpacks Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical Laudato Si’ and the teachings of his predecessors and then offers ways to translate those teachings into action.

Make no mistake, Minnesota, Our Common Home isn't a document just for the people of that state. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in eco-protection—or current affairs, for that matter.

“As Pope Francis repeats in Laudato si’, everything is connected,” the document notes, “and as Catholics we believe that even things that at first seem totally unrelated are, in fact, intricately woven together in God’s providential design.”

Minnesota, Our Common Home makes the crucial observation that “we are happiest when our lives are unified, not compartmentalized, when we allow the truths we believe to shape all aspects of our lives, not just some of them.”

In that light, the document is a true opportunity for catechesis and evangelization—and thus for baptizing the culture and for saving souls.

Minnesota, Our Common Home opens with a section called “A Crisis of Nature,” which notes that “[a]lthough Laudato si’ is framed in terms of environmental problems, the pope is also clear that those problems are only symptoms; the disease exists at the level of the heart, in the way that we as a society have come to see ourselves.”

"Pope Francis gives a clear and forceful message: we need a
complete transformation—a conversion to an ecological vision of the human person, creation, and Creator." Minnesota, Our Common Home.

This section alone is a grand contribution to not just the life of the church in Minnesota, but of Catholic everywhere.

But there’s much more.

The second section examines the term coined by Saint John Paul II, “Ecological Conversion,” which is followed by a third that examines issues near and dear to the people of Minnesota.

Throughout its thirty-four pages, Minnesota, Our Common Home offers one valuable look after another at how our Western worldview—with its over-reliance on a technological worldview—has severed an integrated understanding of nature and of its laws—that is, both the laws of nature and natural law.

This contribution is, quite simply, a bold template for other local churches to follow. The bishops of Minnesota and the Minnesota Catholic Conference are to be commended and thanked for this wonderful contribution—which has come just in time for our individual and communal Lenten journeys.

Minnesota, Our Common Home is available here. Download the full PDF here.

Photo: DWStock/Rural Minnesota dirt road with farms in the morning light

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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.