When I reflect on growing up in the south one incident comes to mind immediately. A young associate pastor issued a challenge to members of Young Christian Students attending the public high school in Danville, KY, a segregated town in a segregated state. He challenged students to approach the managers of local restaurants and ask why they did not serve African-Americans. Needless to say, when I followed through with questions my presence was not appreciated. This was my first, up close and personal experience of racism, and served as a catalyst for my involvement in social justice concerns. I continued to see many forms of racism throughout high school. Continue reading →
The Peace and Collaborative Development Network recently posted a reflection on creating a more peaceful year in one’s personal life and community/world. After having just celebrated the 4th of July with the constant background music of warnings about ISIS threats to disrupt the celebrations, this was a welcome read. The author offers practical suggestions coming from peace resources around the world. Continue reading →
The terrible scene that recently occurred at the historic AME Church in Charleston, SC, cannot be resolved by our analysis or rationalizations. This evil action can only find some resolution in our minds and hearts by focusing on the individuals whose lives were rudely interrupted by the violence and horror. These people were in their home worship space where they were no doubt quite comfortable. The radical in-breaking of gun violence took their lives and surely carried them into God’s loving embrace.
I choose to think about the deep faith of these church-goers who, midweek, were at their church praying for us and our world, praying for themselves and their families, praying for their city and its well-being. In the midst of the gunfire massacre, our Christian faith assures us that God called each of them by name. They were at prayer; they were focused on true Life. God was with them in the light and in this awful moment of darkness. God carried them into everlasting light and peace.
Even before Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment saw the light of day critics were sharpening their knives, with the usual “stay out of politics.” The extremists included the Heartland Institute’s paper entitled, “Is the Global Left Counting on the Pope to Split the Catholic Church Over Global Warming? According to the article, the Pope’s stance on global warming is part of a left wing communist conspiracy to weaken the church.
From Fox news to conservative candidates for president, a common critique is found—this is a political issue, not a moral issue. Since the issue of global warming is intertwined with the U.S. economy, the criticisms are sharp. The flat earth society is on alert and not happy!
NCR’s Thomas Reese stated well the importance of the encyclical: “The encyclical also matters because it puts the Catholic Church firmly behind the environmental movement. With the Pope’s embrace, the environmental movement goes mainstream. They can no longer be designated as tree huggers and Gia Worshippers.”
Let the conversation begin. It is extremely important for parishes, colleges, interfaith groups and all who are concerned about global climate change to come together to discuss this important document. On behalf of the Eco Justice Committee I would like to encourage sisters and associates to discuss the encyclical in study groups. You may order copies of the encyclical on the USCCB website (here). You may also download a copy of the encyclical or read online here.
There are many helpful resources to serve as study guides, including:
- Catholic Climate Covenant Encyclical Media Tooklit – click here
- Faith in Public Life Encyclical Media Training – click here
- Laudato Si Discussion Guide – click here
We look forward to hearing responses after the discussions and would like to include in “Just Reflecting” or on a justice blog.
As the date for the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato si,” (Be Praised), draws near, one can hear the grinding of teeth and the chant from corporate America and conservative politicians say, “stay out of politics.” This criticism comes before even reading the encyclical. This is in spite of the fact that the church’s environmental message has been articulated for years, though with little coverage in the media. Pope Benedict XVI was called the “green Pope” because he voiced a strong call for environmental responsibility. During his papacy the Vatican installed photovoltaic cells on the roof of its main auditorium, a solar cooling unit for its main cafeteria and joined a reforestation project aimed at offsetting its CO2 emissions. Continue reading →