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September 18, 2007     559 Words

Special Issue Examines Faith, St. Francis and Fixing the Environment

CINCINNATI—Worldwide attention to climate change and caring for the environment have increased in the last year, in part because of Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. But while the film presented alarming statistics, along with ways to reduce our carbon dioxide concentrations, it failed to address a much-needed component in saving our beleaguered planet: faith.

St. Anthony Messenger is providing that faith factor with its October special issue entitled, “Francis, Faith & Ecology.” In this issue, topics such as Francis’ love for creation, the dangers of mountaintop removal and how people on the parish and diocesan levels are going green because of religious convictions are investigated. After September 24, the five major articles and usual features will be posted at: AmericanCatholic.org.

Senior Editor Father Jack Wintz, O.F.M., opens the issue with his article, “St. Francis of Assisi: Why He’s the Patron of Ecology,” which explains how the saint, who composed the Canticle of the Creatures and who preached to birds, can deepen our respect for God’s creation.

Authors Keith Douglass Warner, O.F.M., Ilia Delio, O.S.F., and Pamela Wood explain, in their upcoming book Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth (St. Anthony Messenger Press), how St. Francis’ unique approach to nature can be applied to today’s environmental problems. One chapter has been adapted into an article entitled, “Species Preservation Matters.”

“The Our Father: Our Environmental Teacher,” by retired biology professor Sister Paula Gonzalez, S.C., suggests that key phrases from this beloved prayer can be our guide in respecting and repairing the planet.

In her article, “The Tragedy of Mountaintop Removal,” Karen Hurley describes how the Catholic Committee of Appalachia is working with interfaith leaders to expose the true cost of coal-generated electricity.

“Going Green: For the Sake of God’s Creation,” by Assistant Managing Editor Mary Jo Dangel, illustrates how individuals and their parishes are working to reduce their carbon footprints.

The special issue also includes an editorial by Father Pat McCloskey, O.F.M., editor, entitled, “All Creation Reveals God,” which links Francis’ love for the Earth with our current ecological challenges.

Sister Paula Gonzalez is optimistic that Earth can be sustained. “Energy efficiency, wind turbines, solar panels, hybrid cars, food grown organically and locally, ‘green’ building, ever-increasing recycling, nonprofit organizations tackling difficult situations both here and across the planet are alive and well,” she writes, but we need to be more vigilant and responsible. “We need to pray that we will not be led into the temptation of not becoming the creative, collaborative people God envisioned.”

A sidebar in Mary Jo Dangel’s article called “Impacting the Seventh Generation,” quotes the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy: “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

The late Pope John Paul II would have agreed. In 1990’s The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility, he wrote that “We cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations.”

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Permission is granted to reprint this release.

 


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