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Two new books tell story of Hildegard of Bingen, fourth woman doctor of the church

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Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th-century German mystic and ecologist, didn't have the Hubble Space Telescope or quantum physics at her disposal. She didn't need them. From a young age, Hildegard experienced visions. One of them gifted her with essential information about the beginning of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, when it flared forth from a minuscule speck of energy into a vast fireball.

As Doha climate talks enter extra time, global leaders lack “ambition, leadership”

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On the final scheduled day of international climate negotiations, the reports out of Doha, Qatar, signaled little progress in advancing action on climate change beyond vague pledges and toward the tangible, in the form of concrete strategies and commitments.

According to Reuters, hold-ups at the United Nations Conference to the Parties 13 (COP 13) include:

Tax and robber baron economics

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The Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace met in early December at a plenary session in Rome. There, it issued a statement with the modest title: “A Note on Financial Reform.”

That modest title masks a dramatic analysis of the global financial system. Elementary goods like food, the statement asserts, are lacking to millions in the developed world and to billions in the developing world.

Unity of opposites could lead the way to transformation

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People who support plundering the planet for fossil fuels, who deny the reality of climate change and who excommunicate priests supporting women's ordination have something in common, according to a former priest and Jungian psychoanalyst.

Richard Sweeney, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, said in an interview with NCR that those people think in terms of extremes, "a tendency which is innate in the psyche." But the psyche strives toward balance, wholeness and connection to resolve this tension of opposites, Sweeney said.

Global hunger, global advocacy

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For the past 39 years the Committee on World Food Security has met in Rome at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Its theme has been world hunger, and typically begins with World Food Day.

For the past two years, the FAO has had a new approach to global hunger, widening the Committee on World Food Security from just diplomats and “experts,” to include citizen participation, from the voices of non-governmental organizations to social movements consisting of farmers, fisher-folk, private businesses pastoralists and ordinary people.

Latest UN climate talks seek to extend Kyoto Protocol

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The latest round of global climate talks began Monday in the Middle East, in one of the world’s richest –- in dollars and oil –- nations.

The capital city of Doha, in Qatar, will for two weeks play host to the United Nations annual conference, officially known as the 18th Conference of the Parties and the 8th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Amid Sandy, symposium pairs papal teaching and climate change

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[Editor's NoteThis post has been updated to include quotes from Tobias Winright​]

The tides following storms such as Hurricane Sandy often bring with them debris from the destruction caused; lately, among tires and treasured items, the coastal waters have pulled two words back into the public sphere: climate change.

Liberation theologian's Call to Action speech focuses on feminism, interreligious work

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At 40, Aimee Upjohn Light is a liberation theologian and eco-feminist, had Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley as her doctoral dissertation adviser at Yale in 2003, is editor of The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and serves as an assistant professor of theology.

However, where she teaches theology might come as a surprise: Light serves on the faculty of conservative Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

A media roundup of climate change stories

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When Bishop Bernard Unabali of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, performs a baptism, confirmation or ordination, he asks churchgoers to plant 10 trees to promote new life. Unabali considers the link between respecting the environment and the sacramental life of the church as inseparable, writes Dennis Sadowski in a Nov. 9 Catholic News Service article.

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August 1-14, 2014

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