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One noted liturgical expert cautions against a new liturgical season to celebrate creation.

A proposal to insert a “Season of Creation” into the liturgical year has many backers that are friends of mine and colleagues. It has a few detractors, too. I’d have to include myself in the latter group, even if I understand the good intentions of the former.

The proposal by Columban Father Charles Rue seeks to add the Season of Creation during an existing period of Ordinary Time not long before the Feast of Christ the King. This new season would rank alongside Advent, Lent, and Easter. (Note that the suggestion for a liturgical season focused on creation differs from the important ecumenical celebration known as the Season of Creation, which begins next Thursday.)

The liturgical proposal makes a few good points. Here’s one:

Some promoters of a Season of Creation argue that Christian communities need to better acknowledge the first article of the creed, God as Creator, and integrate this belief within the History of Salvation.

Amen. It is true that many Catholic don’t quite see the connection between the opening of the Creed(s) and their often eco-damaging lifestyles. But then the proposal says this:

The current liturgy has many prayers that

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In announcing the new head of two Vatican bodies dedicated to life and the family, the Holy Father continues the work of his predecessors

In announcing yesterday that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia would head up the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis stressed the need for life ministries to adopt a “human ecology,” which is a term coined by Saint John Paul II and carried forward and deepened by Benedict XVI.

The single appointment that joins the two bodies was meant to bring a common voice to their missions. The particular person of Archbishop Paglia was seen by many as a sign that Pope Francis wants that voice to stress the mercy side of the mercy-justice DNA of Catholic teachings.

The pontiff made that clear in his public announcement. According to the Catholic news site Crux, Pope Francis directed Archbishop Paglia to stress and nurture the following:

  • “Care for the dignity of the human person in different ages of existence.”
  • “Reciprocal respect between the sexes and among the generations.”
  • “Defense of the dignity of every single human being.”
  • “Promotion of the quality of human life that integrates material and spiritual values.”
  • An “authentic human ecology,” which can help restore “the original balance of creation between the
  • ...
A study about toxins in water supplies reminds us of the basic needs of life, civilization

A new Harvard study has the media once again paying attention to water—and cheers for that since clean water is essential for the lives of individuals and for civilizations. The question has never been if we need it. It’s what we’re willing to pay for it.

The Harvard findings were published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters. They show that some six million Americans are being offered drinking water with levels of chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl that are higher than what's considered safe. Of course it wasn’t too long ago that Flint, Michigan made international news with its water woes. And you'll be sure to hear of other stories from other parts of these great United States. But none of this should surprise us given findings of the American Society of Civil Engineers that found our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to be, well, subpar.

Given the health and social impacts of clean water, you might think that per capita spending on water is relatively high. But it is not.

When I speak about eco issues or train my state’s wastewater operators I ask this simple series of questions: What do...

For the second year, the Church embraces the upcoming Season of Creation to call attention to the needs of all life, eco-protection

The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that “there is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” And now for the second year, Pope Francis is urging the Church to join a long-celebrated ecumenical observance of the wonders and the fragility of the garden that God has given us.

The Season of Creation begins on September 1st, which was proclaimed as the World Day of Prayer for Creation, or Creation Day, by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989. Other Christian churches throughout Europe joined the Orthodox observation.

The Season runs until October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

This will of course be a time for many activities around the world, but organizers (including Rome) are eager that we make the Season of Creation a time of prayer. To help, they've provided resources, such as this suggested Eucharistic Adoration service. This focus on the contemplative is especially meaningful given the Season's ending feast date.

In calling to mind Francis of Assisi—the patron of ecology who taught through his actions about a life of simplicity and giving—we...

Laudato Si' was a big hit at #WYD2016, which goes to show the mainstream place of ecology in the Catholic Church

You may have heard about one million (plus) young people going to Mass with Pope Francis in Krakow. What you may not have known is that World Youth Day 2016 had a hefty eco-presence in celebration of Laudato Si’—which goes to show how that encyclical and its topic has gone mainstream within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

By all accounts the eco-events in Poland went smashingly, and you’re certain to see more of this at World Youth Day in Panama in 2019, and the one after that, and after that, and after that.

But before we go further, yes, there have been sparse postings this summer. On Sunday I finished and sent off a six-month writing project. Between that and ongoing and increasing mom-care responsibilities, my summer postings waned … to … a … drip.

But with the manuscript done, I can now dive again into these pages. And so back to World Youth Day.

The Laudato Si’ Eco-Village became a part of the World Youth Day Youth Festival thanks in large part to the Global Catholic Climate Movement and several of its member organizations—such as CIDSE, ...

Dr. Chad C. Pecknold summarizes Laudato Si' one-year birthday with clarity and in the light of Catholic orthodoxy

I've been sitting out the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si' as I wrap up a manuscript, which is expected by an editor in July. But Dr. Chad C. Pecknold of Catholic University of America has penned a piece published today in ABC Religion and Ethics that says pretty much everything I'd like to say. He does it in his usual and most excellent way and complete with Hobbit holes.

And so allow me to introduce you to An Integral Ecology: Revisiting Laudato Si', One Year On as I dive into a week with a full-speed ahead focus on my manuscript. (Stay tuned for much more about that.)


One year ago, the Vatican released Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si'. It set off a global firestorm of media coverage unusual for papal encyclicals. Why?

The simple answer is that Pope Francis taps into many of our most fundamental crises in the world today, and connects them. It's not simply an encyclical about the environment, but one on "our common home."

Laudato Si' relates the environmental crisis to the social crises we are all experiencing in a globalized world, but he tells us what we already...

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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.