Sustainability and Catholics

Needless to say, Holy Cross Abbey is not the only Catholic Community concerned about sustainability. A future post will consider the papal awareness of  the ecological crisis and what needs to be done. Without going into details now, suffice it to say that Pope Benedict XVI is acutely aware of the impact of climate change and limit of natural resources on the developing countries and the world’s poor.

There is, in fact, much being done and said by Catholics around the world in regard to the environment. A past post had mentioned Dr. Andy Hoffman’s advice to Holy Cross Abbey: the need for a sense of the sanctity of creation to motivate enduring action. In a paper entitled “Getting Right with Nature”, Dr. Hoffman faced the dichotomies of Nature vs. Human Interference and Human Exploitation vs. Natural Resources by appealing to Roman Catholic Theology. Our theologucal tradition reminds us that both nature and human beings are not opposites but part of the same entity: creation. They don’t have to compete and we don’t have to exploit. Nature doesn’t have to be divinized to be recognized as sacred; as creation, both human beings and nature are sacred. The rub is human free will which can chose malice as easily as it can chose the good. Thus correct ethical norms, the formation of an informed conscience is essential for our choices; exploiting resources like fossil fuels–which are not renewable but took millions of years to form–is not a neutral choice. It’s a bad choice with many destructive, sinful ramifications.

This raises the important question: how do I inform my conscience? How in my busy life do I keep up-to-date? Where, how might I stay informed AND connect with like-minded people to support my vision and efforts? As an individual, a school, a parish might I actually do something? Who has some ideas? Where can I read about other peoples’ projects and efforts?

I would suggest checking out the website of the Catholic Climate Covenant. There you’ll find current news, regularly updated, an archive of resources, papal teaching and documents, success stories, partners in the effort and even a pledge. The St. Francis Pledge can be taken by families, parishes, schools, institutions. For more information log on to   

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