Jesuits and the Problem of Ecology
"The ecological crisis reveals the urgent moral need for a new solidarity, especially in relations between the developing nations and those that are highly industrialized"
(Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 10)
Society of Jesus and Ecology
Care of the environment affects the quality of our relationships with God, with other human beings, and with creation itself. It touches the core of our faith in and love for God... The drive to access and exploit sources of energy and other natural resources is very rapidly widening the damage to earth, air, water, and our whole environment, to the point that the future of our planet is threatened.
We turn to the "frontier" of the earth, increasingly degraded and plundered. Here, with passion for environmental justice, we meet once again the Spirit of God seeking to liberate a suffering creation which demands of us space to live and breathe.
Reconciliation with Creation
We face conflicts between human development and nature's capacity to provide the resources for such development. Reconciliation with creation aims at the positive transformation of such conflicts.
An online environmental textbook on major ecological challenges from an integrated scientific, spiritual, and ethical perspective using an Ignatian pedagogical approach.
Six primary environmental challenges: declining biodiversity, water quality, food systems, energy and fossil fuels, earth resources and extraction and global climate change.
A Dream Painted Green
As a Jesuit school, the "Oficina" is especially committed to defending and promoting the values of social justice and to helping the poor, convinced that it is impossible to separate the fight against poverty from environmental problems.
John Paul II's message for the World Day of Peace 1990: "Protection of environment is not an option. Not to care for the environment is to ignore the Creator's plan for all of creation and result in an alienation of the human person."
Organic Farming at Kasisi
Organic farming respects the soil, the air, the water, the farmer, the consumer, in short all of creation. "This changed my view of reality from one where I as a human was superior to all of creation to a position where I realize that I am very dependent on the rest of creation for my very existence and wellbeing."
Stewards of God's Creation
There is a growing awareness of ecology of ecology among young Jesuits studying Theology at Hekima college. They believe that they have a responsibility to address ecological challenges in order to sustain creation, in particular on our African continent.
Water from the same Source
From the Cardoner to the Amazon: "God in all things and all things in Him."
Protecting an Island
In prison for the defense of an Island against the construction of a naval base, a Jesuit Brother speaks of his experience to protect the environment. This letter is dated January 10, 2014. Now the author is out of prison and goes on with his work.
Working with Creation
Core to our ecological engagement as Jesuits in Asia Pacific is a spirituality that starts from a personal experience of gratitude that influences change in our attitude and lifestyle, and hopefully with others, a change that impacts society. We call this an environmental way of proceeding.
Friends of Trees
Jesuits in different part of India are pioneering in propagating affordable herbal medicines among poor people and promoting biodiversity farms. Thanks to Tarumitra, eco-education is now held in many schools all over the country.
The Mekong River: A Threatened Mother
The Mekong River has been regarded by generations as the mother who provides gifts from the water. However today sand mining, overexploitation of fish resources, land conversion of fish habitats, cutting of flood forests, pollution, and the effects of a changing climate threaten the river's productivity.
*For more, read the 2015 Yearbook of the society of Jesus: Jesuits*
The Jesuits in Maryland pt. 1
Following Christ in a Suffering World: Lent 2015
Presented by Fr. Timothy Brown, S.J.
I hear and I forget
I see and I react
I do and I understand
Only God can make it possible for me to forgive
Not my initiative. The Holy Spirit's work
Asks to be forgiven
To say I am sorry
Ask for the ability to apologize
To say I regret
Seek and you shall find
Knock and the door will be open
I accept your apology
Accept the fact that I am a loved sinner
If you bring your gift to the alter and there recall that
your brothers or sisters has anything against you
Leave your gift
And then come back
Those are Jesus's words to you
Ask God for strength
His words will follow them
I heard a spiritual director say one time that
forgiving does not mean putting the other one on probation
God's way is bilateral not unilateral
Reconciliation is a two way street
Seven Last Words
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Children were herded into a cage in Douma, near Damascus, evoking an Islamic State video, to draw attention to violence in Syria.
"This day you will be with me in paradise."
Dr. Ian Crozier with children he helped save in Sierra Leone. Though his Ebola infection nearly killed him, he wants to go back to Africa to help again.
"Woman, here is your son."... "Here is your mother."
School children in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday in what has become a daily drill: practicing their response to a shelling attack.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Syrian children eat dinner in a tent at a refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley, in eastern Lebanon. Syrian refugees make up more than a quarter of Lebanon's population.
A Respite From the Din of War. A child in a village near Debaltseve, Ukraine, played cards on Tuesday in the local Palace of Culture, which is used as a bomb shelter. Fighting in and around Debaltseve threatened to undermine a cease-fire that took effect on Sunday.
"It is finished."
Migrants arriving Sunday in the port city of Augusta, Italy. "It is a river of people coming in," said Daniele Carrozza, who runs a migrant holding center in Sicily.
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Near the Anzalduas Dam along the Rio Grande, Alejandro, 8, said he came from Honduras to meet his parents in San Antonio. A Border Patrol agent looked at the boy's birth certificate, the only thing he brought with him.
The Saint Francis Pledge
to Care for Creation and the Poor
Pope Benedict XVI: "The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all... to act jointly,... promoting-solidarity with the weakest regions of the world"
All across our country, Catholics are taking the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor and joining the Catholic Climate Covenant. The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God's Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. To join the Covenant, you commit to act on each of the five elements of the St. Francis and register your Pledge at
I/We Pledge to:
- PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God's Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
- LEARN about and education others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
- ASSESS how we- as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations- contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
- ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change
- ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.
- Be mindful and pray about those most impacted by climate change and for the grace to recognize our own contributions to the problem.
- See the prayers found on the Covenant website including the Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis and others.
- Become familiar with and recite the many Psalms that portray the richness of Creation.
- Review the principles of the Catholic Social Teaching and how they relate to climate change atwww.CatholicClimateCovenant.org/catholic-teachings/
- Read and discuss the U.S. Bishops' Statement: Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good found at www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/globalclimate.shtml
- Host a discussion group using a curriculum like the one found on the JustFaith.org website: God's Creation Cries for Justice. Climate Change: Impact and Response, visit www.justfaith.org/programs/justmatters-m_godscreation.html
- Conduct an energy audit of your home, church, school or institution to discover where energy can be conserved.
- Consider and examine your carbon footprint to assess how your choices and behaviors contribute to or help reduce carbon emissions.
- Reduce your consumption of energy (act on your energy audit) by updating appliances, adjusting your thermostat, insulating, etc.
- Ask other Catholics and get your parish, school or other organization to take the St. Francis Pledge.
- Drives less and walk more, combine errands, or use public transportation.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- Write or call your members of Congress and urge that the needs of people in poverty be a central priority in strong and necessary climate legislation and other policies that address environmental stewardship
- Check the websites of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change to stay up-to-date with public policy efforts in this area.
Go to the Catholic Climate Covenant website to register your St. Francis Pledge, to find ways to fulfill your pledge and to link up with other Catholics who have taken the pledge and explore other resources:
- A short video about the covenant
- News and stories about what Catholics (individuals, parishes, schools, institutions) are doing
- Quotes for bulletin inserts, church newsletters
- Liturgical resources and ideas
- Lesson plans and other helps for schools and adult religious education programs
Mission Integration: The People's Pope
A Gift and a Challenge for the Academic World
By: Patrick Howell, S.J.
An inspiration and an agenda for Jesuit universities and colleges
It would be a mistake for Jesuit institutions to reduce the lifestyle and teaching of Pope Francis to a programmatic imitation. His example far exceeds organizational boxes. Jesuit institutions need to embrace dimensions of his lifestyle- reaching out to the poor, embracing the disenfranchised, welcoming all with the love of God- no matter creed, marriage status, sexual orientation, nationality, or origins. All are children of God.
Even so, Jesuit colleges and universities would do well to pursue certain themes that emerge from reflection on his life and a deeper discernment of the energies arising from God's presence in his life:
- His transparency, warmth, and hospitality are immensely energizing to young people. Perhaps this could be a first principle for administrators, faculty, staff, and students: people are more important than agenda.
- He has opened up a broad highway for a deeper reflection by theologians on the very nature of the church, the People of God on a pilgrimage together. What are the accretions, the superfluous additions, which have accumulated over the ages and can now readily be shed so that the message of Jesus stands out in its pristine attractiveness?
- The new pope has set an agenda for greater transparency in finances in the Vatican Bank (the Institute for the Works of Religion). Might universities do the same for all their constituencies: faculty, staff, and students, not just board members? What are the sources of funding, and how are they allocated? If you want to know what an institution's priorities are, "follow the money."
- The Vatican curia is top-heavy with prestigious trappings and titles, which the pope has commissioned eight cardinals to assist him in reforming. What kind of university/college consultation might result in greater grassroots resources for students and academics and a more parsimonious approach to "overhead"?
- The pope speaks of the need for a new theology of women. Thoughtful Catholic women, however, say that what's needed is a more adequate, deeper, more inclusive theology of the human person. Likewise, the pope seems to have not yet found language to express mutuality in dialogue with Hindus, Buddhists, and some of the other great religions. How might theologians in Jesuit Universities suggest creative alternatives?
- Until now it has been forbidden to talk about sexual morality, celibacy, and homosexuality. Theologians and priests who did not conform were censured. Jesuit universities have already, rather freely, pursued these topics but often enough by way of negative criticism. Could they now shift gears and provide more positive avenues of reform for the Church to pursue?
- Pope Francis has repeated the challenge of Pope Benedict to Jesuits to go out to the periphery, to be on the frontier, where the Church would otherwise not be. A similar mandate could be given to Jesuit universities and colleges. What are the new frontiers? What would that look like?