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A great many thanks to Rev. Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin, M.Div. S.T.D. for discussing the foundational links between the Catholic faith, its liturgies, and the created order.

I was first introduced to Msgr. Irwin in 2007. A Dominican priest and mutual friend sent me a paper he had written for the eighth International Congress on Liturgy. The paper touched on the relation between the sacraments and creation. From this I wrote a column for the Rhode Island Catholic. In all, the paper's insights provided watershed teaching moments for me and I am glad that Msgr. Irwin has taken the time to explain it all to you here.

Msgr. Irwin serves in the Archdiocese of New York. He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, the Society for Catholic Liturgy, and the Catholic Theological Society of America. He has served as the Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America. And he holds the Walter J. Schmitz, Chair of Liturgical Studies and is the author of sixteen books on liturgy and sacraments.

For more on Msgr. Irwin visit his biography at...

Of the thirty or so comments to my Catholic World Report piece on climate change, all but two or three could be characterized as angry at me for writing it, angry at CWR for publishing it, or angry at anyone who takes climate change seriously (which I suppose includes Pope Francis and Benedict XVI).

Some call me a Marxist or despicable. Some include links to reports that show climate change is not happening, of that if it is, it is natural. Some call me to task for seeking to redistribute wealth (even if I didn’t mention any specific solution). Many are anonymous.

I told one theologian about all this and she smiled. “Bill, I think you’ve pushed many of the readers at Catholic World Report well past the edge of their comfort zone.”

All I was trying to do was offer a bridge between those in the Church who are engaged in the issue and those who deny it. After all, disunity is not what Our Lord wishes. Rather, it is a sign of the work of our ancient enemy.

Here’s a sampling of the comments:

  • Get over it.....it's called WEATHER....sometimes hot, sometimes cold, sometimes just right. Chicken
  • ...

The Holy See weighed in on the topic of climate change yesterday with a statement to the United Nations Climate Summit.

Calling climate change "unequivocal" and saying that "prudence must prevail," the Vatican's Secretary of State, His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, delivered a statement that touched on issues important to Catholic Social Teaching. The statement also issued a warning: it will take more than politics and economics to engage modern ecological crises.

The statement was similar to a 2009 address by Benedict XVI, also to a UN climate gathering.

Statement by His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin
Secretary of State
United Nations Climate Summit 2014
New York, 23 September 2014

Mr Secretary General,

I am pleased to convey the cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis to all those here present for this important Summit, which has gathered together high governmental and civil officials, as well as leaders from the private sector and civil society, in order to identify significant initiatives that will address the concerning phenomenon of climate change. It is well known that climate change raises not only scientific, environmental and socio-economic considerations, but also and above all...

What did God make? EVERYTHING! How did he make it? GOOD!

Imagine that famous protest chant retooled with those words? How would it sound cried out from clusters of Catholics in Sunday’s People’s Climate March in New York City and around the world? After all, why not add the voice of the baptized to shake things up?

Then again, Sunday, September 21st and the days after may not need shaking up. Its climate marches, gatherings, talks, protests, and vigils around the world—all in anticipation of Tuesday’s United Nation Climate Summit in New York—are already getting attention.

So how will Catholics join in? And what can we add? Here are some ideas:

  • Start with Mass. New York's St. Columba's parish, 343 West 25th Street, will be offering its 9:00 a.m. Mass Sunday for a pre-march encounter with the Lord. God bless them for doing so.
  • Join up with the Franciscan Action Network, which is taking a Catholic lead in the march. (If you'll be in New York, look for the FAN banner among the Catholic contingent on 58th street.)
  • Pray the Rosary while marching. Pray it alone or preferably with a great many others. Given
  • ...

Events across the globe will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis while helping the Church help others help creation.

If you'd like to organize your own gathering, check out the Catholic Climate Covenant for excellent resources.

And check out my September column in the Rhode Island Catholic to see what's happening here in Providence. Perhaps you might wish to use it as a model. Events like this are relatively simple to put together and offer a nice blend of faith, reason, church, state, and the necessary information to build up the common good.

Sound good? If so, here's the opening of my column:

Dioceses and religious groups around the United States have increasingly been turning to solar energy, thanks to advances in technology and better financing. We’ve seen this just over the Massachusetts border where a sizeable solar farm is providing clean energy for the Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham.

More recently, a few pastors in the Diocese of Providence, like mine, are seeking solar solutions for their parish operations. And there is preliminary interest within other Catholic circles, too.

To begin explaining how solar energy can work at your parish or your home, the


Manila’s Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle opened the “Season of Creation” on September 1st with a Mass celebrated at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque City. In it, he offered some of the most impassioned environmental words to date by a Prince of the Church.

Indeed, from the archbishop to the archdiocese’s environmental minister Lou Arsenio, to lay faithful, religious, and clerics taking part in the Season, the Catholic Church in the Philippines is making a commanding statement not just in its own nation but very far beyond its borders.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer chronicled the archbishop’s homily, which stressed the Catholic role in environmental appreciation and protection.

“God’s creations should be given importance and not taken for granted,” he said.

“We should be thankful for the sunrise, sunset, flowers, grass and rivers, among others.” He added that “[s]adly, for some people they seem to be ordinary and go unnoticed.”

He said that Filipino Catholics “should be awed and celebrate all creations of God.” Like Pope Francis and his predecessors, the archbishop called for changes in lifestyles so that humanity lives in accord with the laws of nature.

The archbishop then stressed...


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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.

The final day of the Vatican Sustainability Conference