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:
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
“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
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
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.”
granted to reprint this release.