No matter who wins ...

The United States is divided. Catholic ecologists can help reunite it.

Divisions do not define nations, nor do they stop those of different faiths from uniting in times of need—as this age is, especially here in the States in these hours before we know the name of the next President of the United States.

Here’s one thing we do know. Environmental harms increasingly threaten human life, especially the vulnerable—the unborn and children, the weak and the elderly, the poor and the marginalized. Environmental toxins enter our blood streams, disease-causing pollutants enter our lungs, and growing levels of planet-warming gases enter our atmosphere from the use of fuels like oil, gas, and coal.

But here’s a cause for hope. In response to these threats to life, and their underlying causes, Christians of various denominations and those of many faiths have been working together for a better, healthier future for those alive today and those not yet born.

In the eco-realm, groups like GreenFaith and Our Voices have been on the forefront of interfaith eco-advocy. Here in the States, a small group of Catholics and Evangelical Christians issued a Joint Declaration for Life four years ago to show unity among those faiths, as well as to build bridges between those who defend the dignity of the human person and those who promote the health of the natural environment.

No matter what may separate us, in the matter of protecting human life and in the matters of eco-protection and climate change, we Catholics and all Christians must stand together and give witness to Christ’s truth and love

That statement was founded on biblical principles and the wisdom and insights of ancient and contemporary Christian leaders. It sought to build bonds “between those who, in their own way and through their own calling by God, seek to champion and defend the great, glorious, and mysterious gift of life.”

Now today, in these hours before a new US president is selected, and as international climate talks begin again to advance the work done last year at similar talks in Paris, Christians continue to unite to urge governments—as well as the private sector and consumers—to act now, while there is still time, to reduce the emissions of pollutants like methane and carbon dioxide, which are harming all creation.

These gases, the products of our centuries-old technologies, are known to alter our atmosphere in ways that increase sea levels and the global temperatures of our air and oceans. They intensify rates of precipitation and the strengths of storms, and they shift the very climatological engines that bring rains to crops when needed most.

There can be no doubt that climate change is a reality, that it impacts the vulnerable most especially, and that it is the result of often wanton lifestyles of consumption as well as the slow movement of industrialized nations away from inefficient, polluting, old-world technologies.

Nor is there any doubt that my nation has seen great division these past weeks and months. Families, friendships, and workplaces are strained because of the current presidential campaign, with its incompatible political ideologies competing to define who we are as a nation—and who we will become as a people.

Sadder still are the growing divisions within One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

But these divisions cannot define our legacy. Nor can they interfere with the necessary work ahead of creating a culture (and an economy) grounded in a respect for human life—from conception until natural death—and for the planetary systems that nurture it.

No matter what may separate us and no matter who may win the US presidency, when it comes to protecting human life, eco-protection, and climate change—taken together, what Pope Francis calls "integral ecology"—we Catholics and all Christians must stand together and give witness to Christ’s undivided truth and love, as together we proclaim the ancient words of God revealed to us in the Book of Deuteronomy:

“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.”

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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.