In my 1990 book, The Greening of the Church, I argued that concern for God's creation was low on the list of Catholic priorities. In the intervening years, concerns for the planet have increased at the level of papal teaching and in local churches.
What does daylight savings time mean to an environmentalist? Does it ratify our sense of the simultaneity of the local and the global?
After all, California has a different time “zone” than New York, and it is hard to sing “White Christmas” at any time in Florida. Australia has winter when Chicago has summer, and vice versa. The clock has long been the great relavatizer and, therefore, globalizer. What China does with carbon matters to what Cincinnati does with carbon.
It is nearing the middle of Lent, and your spirit matches the Midwest winter outside -- gray and frozen over. Perhaps you are bored by the same lifeless, dried-out religious services but feel too guilty to say it aloud. Maybe you are overwhelmed with anger and sadness around the suffering planet, but feel a sense of overwhelming helplessness around making any kind of appreciable difference.
Even on a good day, I get discouraged thinking about the coming conclave and the election of a new pope. The “leading” candidates, as named in the media, are so-o-o traditional in their views, that I wonder if any meaningful change is possible. They all look like a Vatican version of the tea party movement.
But I tell myself from time to time, maybe, just maybe, there is a “John XXIII” lurking somewhere undiscovered, waiting to be elected. If so, I hope he remains obscure. If he’s “discovered,” he may not be elected!
What are you doing for Lent?
If you are striving to become greener over the course of the 40 days, one diocese has a resource to help out.
The archdiocese of Cincinnati has constructed a Franciscan Lenten energy fast calendar, offering spiritual reflections and scripture passages relating to creation, but more than anything, simple and practical ways to lessen the energy wasted each day.
Editor’s Note: Donna Schaper is a new blogger for Eco Catholic. A United Church of Christ minister and past contributor to NCR, Schaper also runs the blog “Grace at the Table.”
My favorite book is called “A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction,” a 1977 publication for architects and designers. It argues for a Western version of Feng Shui.
That is, what is around us matters.
On Presidents Day weekend, more than 35,000 people from more than 30 states gathered on in Washington D.C. to draw attention to the issue of climate change, in what organizers called "the largest climate rally in U.S. history."
Specifically, they urged President Barack Obama to act on his promises to address climate change during his second term, first by rejecting the controversial Keystone XL transnational pipeline.
Using Storify, Eco Catholic has compiled a snapshot of the rally, including events leading up to it, and reaction following it.
What a way to spend the First Sunday of Lent: standing up for clean energy and creation care with thousands of like-minded souls. On Sunday, thousands of people from faith-based and environmental groups along with climate scientists will be doing just that in Washington, D.C., at the Forward on Climate rally. It promises to be the largest climate rally gathering in U.S. history, say the organizers from 350.org, The Sierra Club and the Hip Hop Caucus.
Eco Catholic: Deemed the "green pope," Benedict spoke often of the need for greater care for creation among people of all faiths.
When a group of religious educators approached Sr. Terri MacKenzie to ask, "What is a good way to teach little children about God?", MacKenzie, a longtime classroom teacher, had a ready reply: "Don't look up at the sky while you are talking to them. They will think that God is only 'up there' and far, far away, instead of here on earth with us, in us and in everything that exists."