US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Looking for an act of climate reconciliation? Drive less.

Every action we take to lower environmental costs is an act of loving our neighbor.

By Kathleen Manning |
Article Justice

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.

A Catholic worker devotes her energy to environmental activism

How one activist's faith inspired an act of nonviolent resistance against a power company.

By Jeannine M. Pitas |
Article Justice

“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 an environmental activist.

Is your parish sustainable?

Are Catholics taking seriously Pope Francis' call to combat climate change?

By The Editors |
Article Lifestyle

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.”

Have parishes taken this message seriously?

Image: Unsplash cc via Motah

Two documentaries that will change your perspective on the planet

Get down to Earth with ‘Behind the Curve’ and ‘One Strange Rock.’

By Pamela Hill Nettleton |
Article Culture

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.

This Earth Day, consider a Franciscan ethic of fraternal love

If there is one figure in Catholic life inextricably linked with the care and protection of the planet, it is Francis of Assisi

By Kathleen Manning |
Article Justice

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.

No one had to die for our sins.

It’s time to rethink the crucifixion, says theologian Elizabeth Johnson.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Your Faith

Care for creation often falls low on the list of priorities for the majority of Christians, with many even vocal that environmental stewardship isn’t a Christian call. There’s something deeply wrong with that, says Elizabeth A. Johnson, one of the church’s foremost theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Listen to the rural church

Our country relies on rural communities for everything from food to manufactured goods, yet many rural Catholics feel like second-class citizens.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Justice

“Rural matters,” says James Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life. For 94 years, this organization has bridged the gap between urban and rural Catholics and served the unique needs of the Catholic Church in rural America.

Caring for the earth isn’t optional

Good Catholic theology always has the earth in mind, says theologian Celia Deane-Drummond.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Justice Your Faith

Theology professor Celia Deane-Drummond thinks creation care is just good theology. “It’s a fundamental part of our faith,” she says. “It’s not just a marginal extra. It’s actually integral to how we think about who we are as human beings.”

Deane-Drummond goes one step further: Not only is environmental justice an intrinsic part of being a person of faith, faith is a necessary tool to understanding our present environmental crisis. She believes that while science can tell what’s gone wrong in our world, it can’t motivate people to change. This is where religion comes in.

A last-minute Lenten practice with lasting impact

From dust we have come and to dust we shall return. That is essentially not true for plastics.

By Kevin Clarke |
Article Justice

Practicing Catholics the world over understand the importance of giving up something for Lent. The typical Lenten sacrifice includes perennial favorites such as giving up candy or swearing off swearing, but Lenten offerings also change with the times, reflecting technological and cultural shifts. Contemporary Lenten fasting could include forgoing that extravagant morning mocha latte or abstaining from the social media that distract us from our interior lives or from “interfacing” with humanoids in the real world.