Mercy and marches in the Easter Season

Winding up the Octave of Easter with the Feast of Divine Mercy—and Earth Day

While we acknowledge the centrality of the Cross in salvation history, as well as the inevitable sorrows brought by sin, eco-advocates are nonetheless finding much to rejoice as the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday overshadow Earth Day and baptize it.

With all that’s happening, what follows are three posts for the price of one. They're an overview of some of the big events going on; what it all means in the big picture of protecting life; and how Catholics should view it all in light of the entirety of Church teachings.

#Mercy2Earth Weekend

This year's back-to-back sequencing of the secular Earth Day and the great Catholic Feast of Divine Mercy is being acknowledged and championed by the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s #Mercy2Earth campaign. With an array of prayer resources and proposed activities, the campaign is also calling on individuals and groups to share news of what they’re doing to follow up on Pope Francis’s call to see eco-protection as a work of mercy.

There is a beautiful reality here that goes beyond how the Feast of Divine Mercy is being celebrated, in part, in light of eco-protection. The bigger story is how the Feast is being introduced to the secular eco movement. In other words, environmental advocates across the globe (secular and maybe even many Catholics) will have the opportunity to learn, maybe for the first time, about Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and the very promises of Christ about the salvation of souls.

I don't now about you, but I think that last part is pretty cool.

Easter’s message about the goodness of creation

I’ve been to two funerals in the past two weeks for people I’ve known and loved all my life. Turns out that in both instances their bodies have (or will be) cremated and the ashes spread about the sea or the woods. This trend seems to be growing—and is indeed becoming popular even among Catholics—even if it comes with great practical peril, not to mention spiritual danger and ecological harm.

By the latter I mean this: the mentality of spreading one's ashes in the ocean/woods/backyard/Yankee Stadium is really just a modern form of pantheism and Gnosticism that demeans the value of the human body, and, ultimately, all creation. Rather than revere the body and place it in the protective embrace of hollowed, Church-maintained grounds until Coming of Christ, more and more people consider the body simply something that was used and that is now disposable.

Christianity has a particular view of the body—which we learn in large part from the Risen Christ’s appearances to his disciples. His glorified body remains his body. It remains the elements of creation that had comprised his earthly flesh and bone and that are now part of first fruits of the new creation.

The body, like all creation, is a good thing. It is to be protected. Not disposed of.

After all, the promise of resurrection offers that one day we can again hug our loved ones—not simply drift around as spirits in some vaporous nothingness.

That’s our faith. That’s what Easter is teaching us. And it’s an important message, because as goes our views of the human body, so goes our views of all creation.

The March for Science—and the Supreme Court.

The March for Science comes with particular partisan realities here in the States. While a global event, it involves a reaction against the Trump administration’s hostility to eco-science, especially those related to climate change.

Many Catholics will be joining in tomorrow’s march—which will be followed up by the People’s Climate March next week.

Since reason is half of the faith-reason DNA of Catholic intellectual thought, I applaud those who will take part in such demonstrations and civil discourse. But I’m not much of a marcher and won’t be at either. (The closest I’ve come to marching is saying the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic.) Instead, on both days I’ll be working in my garden and making sure my mom is cared for.

A thought, however, for my Catholic brothers and sisters joining in tomorrow’s March for Science.

President Trump’s appointment of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court certainly seems like a win for religious liberty, life, and marriage—all issues important to Catholics. So while we can (and should) be worried over the Trump administration’s war on eco-science, we should on the other hand be pleased that he is working to defund Planned Parenthood and appoint judges that will acknowledge the life of the unborn.

In other words, it's understandable that we will be unhappy when President Trump denies the science of climate change. But shouldn’t we be equally upset with politicians like President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and others for denying the science that proves that human life begins at conception?


So off we go, into Earth Day, the Feast of Divine Mercy, and deeper into the Easter Season. May it be a time that helps us embrace life in all its forms and stages of development—and, with God’s grace, may it be a time of reflection, prayer, and Christian unity in an age that needs Christ’s unity, justice, and mercy more than ever.

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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.