So, it’s a dirty secret of mine that I’m what some call a “radical Catholic,” by which those bloggers mean that I think a lot about economics, family, society, and the general human condition. I don’t write about all aspects because, well, I’m not an economist or a sociologist and I respect the great deal of time that goes into those disciplines before you can something that isn’t patently stupid.
Anyway, part of that interest is examining what it would be like for us to start making a local economy and growing food. I explore that in the latest podcast, that is with Ken and Cari Donaldson of Ghost Fawn Homestead.
I’ve been to the homestead a few times and Clan Donaldson has been the most of Christian hosts. And, yes, their six kids are very entertaining and love having strangers around. As a single guy, I love this touch of home. In many ways, I’ve come to call it my home in Connecticut’s quiet corner. There are animals, fields of barley, and six kids eager to show everything. I’m not sure that this situation is the ideal economic model, but for the family it seems perfect.
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople spoke at the Religion, Science and Environment Symposium in Memphis with regards to the human responsibility towards the environment. As he usually does, the HAH Bartholomew I points to the issues surrounding the degradation of the environment as being rooted in humanity overestimating control of its destiny and believing that we would find a way to solve all our crisis. Knowledge and the pace of technology have not appealed to wisdom, even the most common wisdom that knows the finite character of creation. His address is short and even comes with a video, both of which are worth watching. Please find them here.
Folks who’ve been following my writings might remember my comments on Catholics Going Green and keeping their sanity, well it seems that some separated brothers in the Eastern Orthodox church are joining the discussion. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I gave a statement to the UN-sponsered World Enviornment Day emphasizing the sacred nature of the created order and the place, who is blessed with reason and the power to distinguish good and evil, in protecting and acting as a steward over God’s creation.
According to the theological understanding of the Orthodox Christian Church, the natural environment is part of Creation and is characterized by sacredness. This is why its abuse and destruction is a sacrilegious and sinful act, revealing prideful despise toward the work of God the Creator.
ByzCath has an interesting article on a statement from Msgr Pietro Parolin, of the Vatican Secretariat of State, on the stance of the Holy See on the environment. Nothing new in this area, though he warns of an extreme that I recall from my days in and out of churches where it is believed that “we should actually exploit our world to the full, with little or no heed to the consequences, using a worldview supposedly based on faith.” I don’t want to put words in the Monsignor’s mouth, but I have a feeling that he was talking of the view that believes that as Christ is coming back, we ought to go ahead and exploit our Earth’s resources.
This was an extremist view I heard in and out of churches growing up, and I hear it in the Catholic church now and again, and it is thankfully being more and more oppose by the many. Good to see that there is still some sane, common sense, Green Catholics still out there!
…and keep their sanity. I recently rediscovered an old gem of Stratford Caldecott’s “Ecology“, which is still a great read for an introduction to sane ecological ideas. Caldecott, an Oxford philosopher and publisher of Second Spring (now being published by Thomas More College in the US), introduces the various ideas in environmentalism including Deep Ecology, eco-feminism, and he especially brings attention to the first world arrogance in demanding that the third world limits their birth though Mr. Caldecott correctly points out, “If the 30% of the world’s population living in the richest countries uses 80% of the world’s resources..it could certainly be argued that the global ‘problem’ was as much the lifestyle of the average Westerner as the number of children born to a poor family in the Third World. It would take 9 billion Indians to do as much environmental damage as all 300 million Americans.”
With so much attention being paid to the environment, it should only be natural that more and more Catholics would be speaking up on it and assuring that the creation does not overtake the Creator in humanities daily faith.