Most churches, Catholic or otherwise, place environmental concerns under the broader category of social justice. Like a young child in a big family, the environment vies for attention along with world hunger, peacemaking, the death penalty, and numerous other social issues. And realistically, even though justice pronouncements from on high abound, they aren’t taken very seriously on the parish level. Care for the Earth hardly makes a blip on the radar screen of church priorities. To change this, we need to make stewardship of the Earth its own stand-alone reality.
It’s time to move away from thinking of environmental concerns as one of many equally important and pressing social issues, and give it top billing.
Biblical scholar Diane Bergant says the integrity of creation is foundational, and that social justice flows out of that. Maybe the fact that the Bible starts with creation should tell us something. There is nothing without it. We’ve just taken nature for granted, but can no longer afford that luxury. The foundation is cracking, and we’d better get busy fixing it.