Our common home is worth a little extra effort.
Do you ever notice what you don’t see?
Hang with me—I know the question seems strange.
Those of us gifted with the ability to see count on our eyes to alert us to the tangible objects around us: the person approaching on my left, the puddle I’m about to step in, the stoplight that just turned green.
Eyes create images of the current environment. What we see matters.
But what we don’t see is worth observing too.
We are pushing our planet to its limits for the sake of a few fun parties.
Blank calendar squares that suggest a relaxing autumn disappear when the November page is pulled. In December we go from flurries to a full-blown snowstorm of activities that fall fast upon our household in blizzard-like heaps. The short days leading up to Christmas are jam-packed, but even when they leave me exhausted I love them. Every festivity and finishing touch makes the season special, even more so now with kids to share in our nostalgia.
Are parishes answering Pope Francis' call to care for our common home?
In May 2015 Pope Francis released Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home). In his second encyclical, the pope urges Catholics to be mindful of their environmental impact and to actively work for environmental justice. He says of the importance of sustainability, “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.” U.S. Catholic surveyed readers to find out how parishes across the United States are answering this call.
The synod is a powerful lesson to spread filial love for all of creation.
On October 15, 2017 Pope Francis announced that the Pan-Amazonian Synod would be taking place in Rome. The goal of the synod is to seek out new paths for evangelization, particularly in the area known as Amazonia, and shape “a Church with an Amazonian face,” according to the preparatory document for the synod published by the Vatican. The synod documents follow Pope Francis’ urging that care for creation necessarily includes care for the poor.
At the Amazon synod, the church must stand with indigenous people to protect creation.
The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region was controversial long before this fall. Self-described orthodox Catholics have worried over its potential impact far from the Amazon. One of the issues to be discussed at the synod is the acute shortage of priests in the nine countries that make up Amazonia.
When you become a community-oriented church, the needs of your neighborhood become your reality.
Jonathan Brooks, known as “Pastah J” at Canaan Community Church in Englewood, a Chicago neighborhood, is quick to say that his church is community oriented, not justice oriented. “Justice is the result of living in community with one another,” he says. Parishes often focus on big issues such as creating world peace. Instead, says Brooks, they should build up their own community.
Every action we take to lower environmental costs is an act of loving our neighbor.
On Ash Wednesday we are told to “remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” It can be a bleak message and may be why some churches have opted to thumb ashes onto foreheads with a challenge to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” But there is a challenge, albeit an implicit one, in “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”: How are we spending our brief time as not-dust? For me this has taken on a special urgency given the increasingly dire warnings about the ill effects of climate change and our vanishing ability to keep these effects at bay.
How one activist's faith inspired an act of nonviolent resistance against a power company.
“If there is a building on fire with a child trapped inside, but outside the building there’s a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, anyone in their right mind would go in to save the child,” says Brenna Cussen Anglada, a Catholic Worker who resides at St. Isidore Catholic Worker Farm in Cuba City, Wisconsin and is an environmental activist.
Get down to Earth with ‘Behind the Curve’ and ‘One Strange Rock.’
Two documentaries currently trending on Netflix take a look at the planet from decidedly oppositional perspectives—and they might change how you think about the ground you stand on.
If there is one figure in Catholic life inextricably linked with the care and protection of the planet, it is Francis of Assisi
As we approach Earth Day on April 22, expect to hear about St. Francis. If there is one figure in Catholic life inextricably linked with the care and protection of the planet, it is Francis of Assisi. He is often depicted with animals and is famously the author of the Canticle of the Creatures, which praises God by praising creation. Our familiarity with Francis’ works and image obscures the fact that in the arc of Catholic teaching on the natural world, Francis was very much an outlier.