Everyone on the planet should be guaranteed a brighter future —irrespective of who they are or where they are— where we can all thrive within the resources of our one planet. Yet, our politicians, financiers and economists continue to preside over what I can only describe as a deceitful and unethical type of Ponzi scheme with our planet. Surely every single person on this planet is aware that we are consuming more and more natural resources faster than nature is able to replenish; currently we are stealing the Earth’s future resources from our children and their children just so that we can function here and now; we are dipping deeper and deeper into ecological piggy bank without making realistic and sustainable repayments. One day in the future our progeny may have to urgently dip into that piggy bank and find that their progenitor’s stole their future away from them and in effect causing humanity’s ecological account to be declared bankrupt and therefore it is us, today, who will be the cause humanities extinction in the future. Continue reading Laudato Si’ – The Logic (and Illogical) of Ecological Dialectics.
The hustle and bustle of working in the city, polluting traffic, schedules, overcrowded commuting, fast food restaurants, coffee bars and pubs, colossal buildings, blistering asphalt, these are our surroundings at work. It is easy to forget that once this city of London was a small town called Londinium with archaeology dating back to 4800 BC, and before that were you live now would all have been land, mountains or forests. We are more connected to nature than we thought. Celtic Christianity reminds us that this connection and the importance of caring for the environment go beyond recycling, stopping meat consumption and animal products. The ancient Celts honoured the force of nature; they were animists meaning they had a world view that non-human entities — such as animals, plants, mountains, rivers, lakes and believed that inanimate objects-possess a living soul. They also believed that humans could establish a rapport with these living souls. The Celts who were originally pagan, viewed the presence of the supernatural as central to, and interwoven with, the material world. Every mountain, river, spring, marsh, tree, and rocky outcrop contained a living and breathing spirit and therefore was considered to be alive. There is so much about our own planet that we do not know; for instance science has recently proven that trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated —and even intelligent— than we could ever have believed.
Trees of the same species are communal, and will often form alliances with trees of other species. Forest trees have evolved to live in cooperative, interdependent relationships, maintained by communication and a collective intelligence similar to an insect colony. These soaring columns of living wood draw the eye upward to their outspreading crowns, but the real action is taking place underground, just a few inches below our feet.
The Celts, Christianity and nature has been linked from the very beginning. The traditions and beliefs of the Irish Celts associated with nature played a strong part in shaping Irish mythology, surviving after Ireland’s conversion to Christianity and playing an important role in Ireland’s cultural identity. Considering this it’s easy to see how Ireland’s myths and legends are famous around the world.
In order to live more sustainably you do not need to live as a hermit, but in imitating the early cultures such as the Celts, we can take steps to adapt our lives accordingly, we can do this and stop putting a strain on the planets natural resources. Go and meditate under the branches of a nearby tree. According to the Celtic worldview, nature is not something that is independent of humanity (after all we would not survive without it), it is an integral part of humanity and therefore must also be so within people’s spirituality and their commitments.
In 2009, a global poll found that the majority of people, including 77% of British people, wanted their governments to do much more about climate change. But in August of this year, another global poll found that in the biggest most-polluting economies, concern about climate change had fallen sharply in the last two years. Hearts and minds have not been won over. International climate talks have reached deadlock and, not unsurprisingly, carbon emissions continue to increase.
For the past year, the Guardian’s columnist Clare Bryden lived with the monks and nuns of the Anglican Abbey of Mucknell —The Society of the Salutation of Mary the Virgin— in Stoulton, Worcestershire, a contemplative Benedictine community in the Church of England. There are few more hidden lifestyles, but they have precious insights to offer the instinctive idealist.
Novices within religious orders follow the rule of life written by their founders. Over the centuries there have been many rules; the Rule of Saint Augustine, Anthony the Great, St Pachomius, the Rule of St Basil, the Rule of St Benedict. Benedict of Nursia (AD 480 – ca. 547) wrote his monastic rule in AD 516. Benedictines make vows of obedience, stability and conversion, let us take a closer look at their meaning:
- Obedience comes from the Latin word to “listen”.
- Stability refers to the importance of both community and commitment in life. The vow of stability also articulate our concerns with regard to the current environmental crisis — because if we remain steadfast to the earth we begin to learn how to become good stewards of all that was created.
- The third vow, conversatio morum is literally translated as “conversion of life,” Conversion has more of a sense of a “U-turn,” an inverting, and is not confined a single event in time. This vow tells us that we must acknowledge that conversion and always remain attentive to it. For those who are not within the confines of a monastery conversion continues to be an ongoing process as well, helping us to continually walk within the presence of God.
Conversatio Morum of life incorporates both poverty and celibacy, yet is more broadly understood as one’s orientation toward God. I truly believe that it is worth the effort to grasp the true nature of conversatio morum, because it is germane to the world today. It comes from the Latin word to “listen intently”.
Through our Christian faith we know that God created the earth and all that it holds which He then entrusted to us as caretakers. Love for God must be reflected through our contributions to that environmental stewardship. The vow of stability roots an individual to their one common home and therefore we need to ensure that we take every possible step to protect and care of it. The vow of conversatio morum, or “conversion,” requires nothing more than simplicity of life and communal sharing of goods and resources, its quite easy. Humility, or fear of the God, calls us to be aware that God is within everything and that we are connected to God through nature. As Christians, as monks and nuns we have a shared moral imperative or duty with every other person on this planet to be the stewards of God’s creation.
The responsibility is upon all of us to listen to each other and to God attentively; we have an individual duty to comprehend what is being asked and what action is required of us. As a matter of fact, the copy of Rule of Benedict that I have, dated 1865, begins with the word “harken” listen. This is the word to which monastic communities often return to. Harken, listen and pay attention, to God and to His word; to our weaknesses and how they drive us; to other members of the community; to our neighbours near and far; to the place where we live and to the whole planet. We need to understand the impact that our attitudes and actions have upon others.
Saint Benedict had been extremely practical in his ordering of the life. Discerning the value of balance between prayer, manual work and study within the daily rhythm of monastic life. In a monastery one might live with the day-to-day practicalities of renewable energy and rainwater harvesting, mucking in and getting your hands dirty in the kitchen garden, learning about the diversity of nature. As a result, one is far more connected with the food and shelter and one’s environment.
Community life is often romanticised by novices and visitors, but they are very quickly set straight. Religious are real people, we live together at close quarters (unless you are a hermit) and we quickly get to know each other’s eccentricities. Benedict was well aware of everyone’s distinctive weaknesses, and imbued the rule with self-discipline and restraint. So this nostalgic quixotism needs to yield to a healthier idealism rooted within our present reality and oriented in hope to values such as hospitality, generosity, neighbourliness, compassion and cordiality toward all; growing into the image of God; and sustainability, both physical and spiritual. The Benedictine order founded its first monastery at Subiaco a commune in Rome circa AD 529 and has continued to flourished for 1,492 years, and I believe that it will be a sustaining presence for many years to come.
So how do we live sustainably
During the Coronavirus pandemic we had an opportunity to rethink how we can live more sustainably. Many would have worked from home for the first time and found that you’re using far more electricity and water than you had before, you’ve probably had to cook a lot more than usual at home. In all probability you will have also noticed the impact it has had on your bank account and how much si actually consumed and wasted within your household every day. Did it make you become more careful or did you simply continued as normal?
What is meant by being sustainable?
Sustainability is a complex concept that can be somewhat difficult to define in just a few words. In short, sustainability is a term used to refer to humanity’s responsibility to care for our planet so that it can remain safe and habitable, and have the resources needed for all future generations to continue. We can achieve this for our world and future generations by implementing enforceable laws with severe fines (or loss of business licence) and better conservation and protection strategies.
Why should this be so important?
Our species has already caused irreparable and irreversible damage to our planet, filling the air and seas with toxic industrial waste which continues to this very day, —and in some cases completely unchecked—, technologies, irresponsible consumption and mountains of refuse and plastics. Plastic contains toxic chemicals which leach out and have now been found in the blood and tissue of most human beings causing cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments. Plastic is not biodegradable; it can only break down into smaller and smaller particles. It’s estimated that between 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year. Despite our impotent efforts to address the global problems things are still getting worse, and before we know it, the earth’s temperature would have risen to a critical point from which there is no turning back and a reversal is no longer within the realms of possibility. This would make many areas of the planet completely uninhabitable. The air will be of such poor quality that it would become impossible to venture outdoors without wearing respirators and protective equipment. The oceans continue to rise, as flooding spread more land will be permanentlylost to the ocean, which will be so toxic that days on the beach will be a thing of the past and eating sea food will be a story relegated to myths and legends. We are at a tipping point. Simply put, the time to act is now despite what politicians and industry tell us. The objectives of Industry and by default politicians concern one thing only, their shareholders and their 30 pieces of silver to the detriment of all others.
Are we able to work from home in a sustainable manner?
Saving the planet is no easy feat and it certainly isn’t something that will occur over the course of one night. But you can do a lot of little things in everyday life to help reduce your carbon footprint. Imagine if everyone took the time to cultivate little habits and make small adjustments that prioritise sustainability. The long-term impact would change the earth! The preservation of this beautiful planet will begin to seem much more achievable. A good place to start therefore is in one’s own home, especially if your house or apartment also happens to be your place of work. Here are some simple pointers you can utilise in order to live a more sustainable and meaningful life whilst working from home. You can also use these pointers if your home is not your workplace.
Please note that the links we have provided below are for you to research the equipment yourself should you wish to purchase them. We cannot endorse products nor take responsibility for the content material, this is solely at your discretion, thank you for understanding.
1. Adjust your thermostat
Growing up, most children quickly learn that the thermostat is hands-off. After all, Mum and Dad aren’t paying the heating bill to heat outdoors. Now that you are somewhat older, you would probably agree that paying an arm and a leg for electricity and gas is not a leisure expense. Not only does it hurt your pocket, but it also has negative environmental impacts.
Lowering the heating and boiler temperature slightly during the winter by just a few degrees can significantly lower your monthly bill and help fight global warming. You can also invest in a smart meter, like the Google Nest Heating & Hot Water Smart Thermostat or Hive Wireless Thermostats, which can learn your preferred temperatures and automatically adjusts to scheduled times in order to save energy.
2. Use energy efficient lighting
You can also save energy by choosing Eco-friendly lighting. For more information on lightbulbs please see Which? LED lights explained. Led lights tend to save 80% more energy than normal bulbs and last up to six times longer, so over time you will buy less. They also contain no toxic chemicals, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment once you dispose of them. If you want to conserve even more energy, consider buying smart bulbs for example the Veho Kasa Bluetooth smart LED light bulb. They are super affordable and compatible with smart devices that you may already have, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. You can even get colour-changing bulbs that are great for creating ambiance lighting.
3. Unplug all household electronics when you are not using then
Electronic gadgets such as televisions, microwaves, computers, and even mobile phone chargers continue to draw power when not in use. These “energy vampires” (yes, that’s a real term! It surprised me too) are constantly consuming energy, even when completely turned off. The best way to kill energy vampires is to unplug electronic devices at the source when you are not using them. Alternatively, you could use smart power strips (see BestReviews) to conserve energy and contribute less to environmental degradation. The keyword here is smart. A normal power lead will still waste power when plugged in. A smart power strip can recognize when an electronic device is not in use and cut off the power.
4. Choosing Eco-friendly office supplies
There are a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to stocking your home and your office. Unfortunately, many of them are not made with the environment in mind and are often used once and then thrown away. You can make a positively impact upon the environment by being more aware of the products you buy. More companies are beginning to source their materials from single sustainable source to make all of their products. There are plenty of Eco-friendly suppliers who utilise bamboo, cotton-based acetate, recycled plastic, and other biodegradable alternatives. Everything from paper and pencils to phone cases and laptop sleeves can be made whilst remaining considerate to our environment and planet. You can even have Eco-friendly business cards printed on recycled paper! It just takes a little research to find the best green products suitable for you.
5. Buy less, whilst reusing more
When looking for your planet-friendly office supplies, look for products that are reusable, refillable or durable. If you need to use paper, buy a paperless notebook, such as the Rocketbook which has a system that connects traditional handwriting surfaces with the power of the cloud. It comes with a specially designed microfibre pen and cloth. Just write, scan your work and erase to use again! If your morning routine involves you stopping by your favourite Colombia Pastor with hints of red apple and caramel or the Seven Seeds-Guatemala Rosma espresso with notes of brown sugar and peach coffee at your local coffee bar, skip the paper cup they give you, after all you are just going to throw away. Get a reusable coffee mug instead and bring it with you. Another great way to reduce and reuse is to buy refurbished office equipment. There are many online marketplaces that list products for sale locally, such as office desks, chairs, and bookshelves, computers and other essential equipment. It does not have to be new. Checking online just now I found twenty-two different suppliers in my area.
6. Learn to recycle (the correct way)
People have good intentions when it comes to recycling. Still, many are not doing it effectively, or even correctly. I made that mistake myself some years ago quite innocently, which is why most recyclables end up in landfill. Waste Management website describes these three general rules for recycling (these may change depending on your local authority, best to check their website):
- Recycle clean cans, bottles, and flattened cardboard.
- Leave food or liquids in your food recycling caddy (Yes to all food including meat and fish (cooked or raw) including bones, Tea bags and tea leaves and coffee grinds. No to Any fats solid or liquid, Pet poo (yes you’d be surprised),
- Do not recycle loose plastic bags or items that are bagged.
You can recycle food and drink bottles and containers, but the caps are often not recyclable, so be sure to throw them away in your non recyclable waste. You also cannot recycle plastic wrap, film, and cups with wax or plastic coating. Also, anything that can get tangled in recycling machines, like plastic bags, are non recyclable.
7. Food shopping
We all need to eat and drink its a fact of life, but how we do it sustainably and with zero waste, and achieving this without causing a major impact on your carbon footprint is important. You can search for a sustainable grocer near you online.Food needs to be nutritious, wholesome and safe for you and your family. Try if you can to find organic products, when getting started go small at first. Shopping sustainably starts where you shop at and encompass what you buy once you have arrived at the store. Whether you’re buying fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market or meat and fish at the supermarket, there are questions you should ask to learn more about how that food was grown or raised to make the most sustainable choice possible. There are tips and resources to help you steer a course of the market stands and grocery aisles and for making sense of food labels and what they claim.
- Eat more plant based foods (I’m not saying go meat free but its a start)
- Eat more variety, the WWF and Knorr we have identified the Future 50 Foods that can help reduce the environmental impact of our food system download their pdf report here.
- When possible try to include seasonal produce from your local farm shop or greengrocer in your diet.
- Buy fish responsibly. By eating climate friendly seafood you would make a difference.
- Grow your own vegetables and fruits (if you have a garden)
- Get Giki. Giki is a free mobile app that provides ethical and sustainability information for more than 250,000 products.
- Buy Products that are Fair Trade
- Look for Organic Produce
- Choose Plastic Free Packaging
- Buy Sustainably Sourced Ingredients
- Always choose Free Range Meat & Eggs
- Buy Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables (which reduces their carbon footprint)
- Completely avoid all GMO’s
- Only buy what you need and do not be tempted by buy one get one free unless you know you will use it or give it to someone else
Do your part to safeguard the Earth.
It cannot be said enough that we all have to collaborate and work together to save our planet. Small gestures like unplugging electronic devices and shopping for groceries or green office supplies are a good start to living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. Right now, the Amazon is burning and the products that we are buying are part of the system which drives this continued and unchecked devastation. We don’t need to burn or cut down one more tree, there’s more than enough land to grow food to feed 2 billion more people by 2050. You should press your member of parliament (find them here) or join a group that lobbies Government on these issue by demanding deforestation free food. Use Ethical Supermarkets (bit hard to find in the UK but they are there), where products are sourced and processes are in place to ensure that there is no exploitation in the food chain — of people and animals.
As Christians we have a duty to be good stewards of the environment, which is God’s creation for us. We believe that there is a relation between ecological practices and christian spirituality.
The Hermit of Saint Bruno (Celtic Hermit) at St Mary’s Hermitage has made a Commitment to Sustainable Stewardship
Stewards of Creation
Sustainable stewardship is one way in which Hermits (and Monks) can participate in God’s intention and care for our world. To this end, the St. Mary’s Hermitage has consistently used ethical and sustainable grocery and utility suppliers. We use natural and traditional building methods for projects and adopted sustainable and energy efficient equipment for all of our utilities.
Our Sustainable Vision
- To use only sustainable materials and techniques to safeguard the environment and the beauty of the our rural location and the Kent countryside.
- The energy consumption at St. Mary’s Hermitage is clean, renewable, and cost effective
- All of the buildings St. Mary’s Hermitage meet the needs of this eremitic community, now and in the future.
- Externally obtained goods and supplies must meet sustainable and ethical criteria.
- We have a system of rules that promote replenishing and limit our depletion and pollution.
How does St. Mary’s Hermitage maintaining a viable quality of life, and sustainable practices
- We have a consistent and transparent worldview where both scriptures and scientific research defines our worldview;
- We have a strong social capital network of relationships among us enabling us to function far more effectively;
- We use critical reflective change based on values; and,
- and an appropriate and tested decision-making process.
St. Francis reaffirms the divine character of Creation also in its material aspects, against the Cathars, who in those same years claimed that God had created the spiritual reality, while the material reality was of demonic origin. St. Francis of Assisi also argues against the mercantile mentality that was rapidly spreading throughout the known world and for which nature was being exploited simply for economic purposes, while the saint from Assisi argues that nature provides man with everything he needs and therefore invites us not to worry about scrambling about continuously, seeking ever greater but useless material goods. Continue reading The Canticle of Brother Sun
From the Hermit of Saint Bruno Nr. Canterbury (England)
On May 24, 2015, the encyclical Laudato si ‘appeared in which Francis I, the Bishop of Rome called all of Christendom toward an ecological spirituality (Laudato Si’ № 216), the foundation of an ecological conversion that modifies relations with the world around us (№ 217) and made more concrete through the application of practical directives. The Bishop of Rome names St. Francis of Assisi as the exemplar (№ 218) to arouse this sublime fraternity with all of creation which he [St. Francis] lived in such a resplendent manner.
The publication of this encyclical did cause some surprises though! both for the subject (ecology), not at all contemporary or prevalent within the magisterium, and for the chorus of praises coming from eminent peoples as the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I and former president Barak Obama, but also from other bon vivants of the world (such as Donald Trump who received a personal signed copy of Laudato Si’) but who’s objectives, actions, leadership and lives are in a totally opposite direction to the Kingdom of God; claiming to be Christians and only having time to attend Church during election years, somewhat akin to prisoners attending a parole board for early release.
Can we truly visualise St. Francis as the patron saint of Ecologists as we conceive it in this day and age by the greats of this world? Surely the sons of St. Francis, cannot remain indifferent to this question; is it not after all the honour of their seraphic Father which is at stake?
Saint Francis and nature
The relationship between the saint and nature can be summarised as follows: from the Creator to creature, from the creature to the Creator.
In first place from the Creator to the creature. Through creatures, St. Francis discerned all the goodness of God. He saw brothers and sisters in them, because they all had the same father (1st Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano 81). Thus, in his transport of love towards God, one day he invited birds to sing the praises of the Creator to thank him for all they received from him (1st Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano 58). In summary, it is because of his ardent love for God that he loved every creature of him at the same time.
From the creature to the Creator. For his soul so pure, the world was a mirror of Divine Goodness and a ladder whereby he might reach the Throne (2nd Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano 165). The saint had a much more tender affection for creatures who bore a symbolic resemblance to Jesus (1st Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano 77). Among them, he preferred lambs, because they reminded him of the One who had abandoned himself to his enemies, as an innocent lamb. All these things he said in an admirable way in the Canticle of creatures. We report the first and last verse, which show us the supernatural breath that animates the whole canticle:
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, Praise, glory and honour and benediction all, are Thine. To Thee alone do they belong, most High, And there is no man fit to mention Thee … Praised be [Laudato si’] my Lord for our sister, the bodily death, From the which no living man can flee. Woe to them who die in mortal sin; Blessed those who shall find themselves in Thy most holy will, For the second death shall do them no ill.
Ecology is neutral in itself. It is the study of the environment where living beings live and reproduce, and of the relationship they have with this environment. Or so the dictionary says. The purpose of those who study this science is the conservation of these environments so that living beings are not in danger. It is normal for those in power to worry about it, but many do not.
However, ecological concerns have gained more and more momentum due to increased industrialisation; it can be said that in the last 20 years we have witnessed an invasion of ecological issues within our daily lives.
Where does this universal phenomenon come from? For many decades, international bodies, in particular the UN, have become champions of the ecological movement. Now what exactly is meant by ecology? What objectives does it pursue? To answer these questions, it is sufficient to refer to the official acts that have been issued over time. Let’s take a look at some of these goals.
First, the fundamental objective: a change in the paradigm, that is, in our conception of the world. Christianity had Christ the King. Men were subject to this Master whom was dearly loved and faithfully served, both by nations and by individuals. And man reigned over the lower creatures. The Revolution cast out Christ the King; man then proclaimed himself sole king and became intoxicated by this sensation, whilst destroying man’s superiority over other creatures. In short, it is a role reversal (as the word revolution implies). It is the adoration of the elements, possessions, money, the cult of Earth, and finally pantheism, none of which, I believe, are Christocentric.
This new paradigm must be imposed on the whole world. Ecology is found to be an effective lever on all plans for achieving this goal. First, many Communists have laundered themselves into ecology. For example Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. In his book Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (1988), destined to revive a new world revolution, ecological problems play a preponderant part. Gorbachev himself is the founder of Green Cross International whom inform us that they ‘strive for a secure and sustainable future.’
Finally, it is a question of moulding and combining a political and religious synthesis: achieving a world government and a world religion. A threat of catastrophe must be created within the spirit of the people, to ensure social cohesion and the acceptance of a world political authority, which will be utterly totalitarian.
As for the origin of these ideas, we find them brought together in the New Age movement, derived in turn from the Theosophical Society. The latter was founded by Freemason Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in 1875. One of her successors, Alice Bawley, founded the Lucis Trust in 1922, later renamed the Lucius Trust, a true world centre for the radiance of Luciferian cults and also the Lucifer Publishing Company. ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Lucis’ are from the same word root, lucis being the Latin genitive case meaning ‘of light.’ After the first two or three years, the name was changed to “Lucis Publishing Co.” (The Theosophical Society also used the name “Lucifer” for its early magazine publication.)
The encyclical Laudato si’.
Curiously, in this document we find exactly the same concerns held by the ecological movement. Firstly, the Bishop of Rome denounces the “dominant technocratic paradigm” which he believes to be the root of the current ecological crisis (ch 3), wanting to indicate in this manner the aims to power of industrial societies. To remedy this, he offers a new look at nature. We need “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale.” [№ 9] We note the confusion between the natural order and the supernatural order. While rejecting life-giving pantheism, he says that “The Spirit of life dwells in every living creature and calls us to enter into relationship with him.”[№ 88] From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole, without thereby impinging on its autonomy. [№ 99]
The creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. (№ 100) All these considerations are traversed by the same constant confusion between both nature and grace. Not only did Christ united with every man, but still with everything. “Christ has taken unto himself this material world and now, risen, is intimately present to each being, surrounding it with his affection and penetrating it with his light: (…) God created the world, writing into it an order and a dynamism that human beings have no right to ignore.” (№ 221). This distinctly evolutionary doctrine is taken up almost entirely by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ., scientist, palaeontologist, theologian, philosopher and teacher, is quoted in № 83 of Laudato Si’ (cf. note 53).
As for the New Age movement, it claims Father Teillhard as one of its inspirers. Chardin was Darwinian in stance and sentiments. In 1962, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith condemned several of Chardin‘s works because of their ambiguities and doctrinal errors, the response to his writings by other scientists in the field have been extremely critical. In 1926 his superior in the Jesuit Order forbade him to teach ever again. This is the same man whom as the Jesuit held that humanity had descended from apes and were not created by God. A decree of the Holy Office dated 30 June 1962, under the authority of Pope John XXIII, warned: “It is obvious that in philosophical and theological matters, the said works [Chardin’s] are replete with ambiguities or rather with serious errors which offend Catholic doctrine. That is why… the Rev. Fathers of the Holy Office urge all Ordinaries, Superiors, and Rectors… to effectively protect, especially the minds of the young, against the dangers of the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and his followers. [Acta Apostolicae Sedis – Commentarium Officiale, p. 526, Annus LIV Series III Vol. IV. 6 August 1962]
In reality, God does not dwell within all creatures of His creation. As the creator of natural order, He is present in everything. God lives only within a soul that is in a state of grace; it is through supernatural faith animated by charity that God makes him present in a new way (Aquinas The Missions of the Divine Persons: I q. 43, a 3)
But let’s continue and finish the observation of this new look at things proposed by the encyclical. Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world (n 236) [ID., Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003), 8: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 95 (2003), 438]: is still a Theillardian ideology. “Decree of the Council of Trent (Session XXII) September 17, 1562 … The Mass must be celebrated either on an altar which has been consecrated or on a consecrated altar-stone or portable altar (Rubricæ Generales Missalis XX).” altare symbolum est Ipsius Christi — the altar is the symbol of Jesus Christ, the altar of his own sacrifice.
Now, its the whole world that is sacred… since Christ is united with it. In the end, “The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways.” (№ 238) Once again we note the confusion between supernatural love, of which the Spirit is the principle and the love of God whom created the natural world. Although it cannot be said that a form of pantheism is declared in a formal manner, it is the natural outcome of such a doctrine, since participation in the divine nature (definition of grace) is in reality only natural. To impose this new paradigm and this new behaviour, the encyclical proclaims that ‘there is urgent need of a true world political authority [is this an ‘NWO?‘],’ … ‘it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organised international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions.’ (№ 167-175)
To manifest this now ineluctable authority, it is recalled that states can no longer cope with ecological problems. The potential for an ‘ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilisation,’ is broadly described (cf. № 4 and the whole chapter 1). A worldwide consensus on these questions must be established (№ 216). The Church addresses her prayer for this purpose (№ 216). In short, the political world and the religious world converge. Numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups, have enriched the Church’s thinking on these questions. In the religious world itself, Churches and Christian communities —and other religions as well— have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing. (№ 7-8).
In summary, we see a convergence between ecological ideology and the encyclical Laudato si’ even if the latter does not admit it because certain points of this ideology are too overtly anti-Christian, nevertheless, what matters for the Revolution is that it continues to march onwards. This is above all a practice, and for this reason it is not allowed to collaborate with it. Probably unbeknownst to its author, the encyclical is playing into the hands of revolution and the insurrection game.
It is impossible to recognize the countenance of the serene Bishop of Rome within the encyclical Laudato si’, it was after all written by him and what seems to be several ghost writers of the Curia. For the Bishop of Rome, as for the Catholic doctrine of all time, creation is similar to a mirror of divine goodness. The gift of science makes us realise how empty creatures are of God and makes us desire Heaven even more; at the same time, it makes us ascend back to the Creator, the “Summum bonum, the rotalis bonum which alone is the ultimate good.” (Laudes Domini) The “Summum bonum” is generally considered as an end in itself, as well as containing all other goods. In Christian philosophy, the highest good generally defines the life of the righteous, the life they lead in communion with God and in accordance with his precepts.
While according to the doctrine of the encyclical, at the service of a universal and cosmic fraternity, God dwells in all things, according to the Theillardian ideology. Objectively, this document gives a nudge to a revolutionary world.
More than ever we pray for the Church and all of humanity, that both may receive the enlightenment and strength to avoid the jaws of revolution. The latter certainly is not desired; if it smiles at church today it is to lure her into its game, but tomorrow it could also reserve a sadder fate for all. At Fatima the Virgin repeatedly reminded us of the urgency to pray for the Church and for its leaders. So let’s re-double our efforts.
BibliographyContinue reading “From St. Francis toward a Christian Ecotheology”
— Blessings for Generations.
The saying: “God has no grandchildren” is an evergreen among Christians. To be the son or daughter of the most faithful Christian far and wide is not a ticket to heaven. Christian parents can, however, lay an important foundation through their example so that being a Christian appears to their children not only as an attractive possibility, but as the way, the truth and the life.
— Oriented towards the future
With how much enthusiasm many of us as adolescents and young adults defended our faith and expressed our love for Jesus in different ways! Then when marriages began and children were born, we threw ourselves into the family adventure with enthusiasm. As soon as the first child was born, we read to him from the children’s Bible, sang and prayed with him. The longer, the more important other things became: kindergarten, school, house building, job and looking after ageing parents. The first enthusiasm had given way to everyday life: “The air was outside” and the courage evaporated. In this phase of life we become receptive to one or the other distraction from the outside, which is not fundamentally bad, but makes us forget our concern to keep God’s word alive in the lives of our children and in our lives.
— Sustainability — A Catchphrase in our Times
The term sustainability has accompanied us in various areas of life for several years. “Sustainability” has its origins in the English adjective “sustainable” (= to keep something alive, to maintain). The term sustainability is used especially in the forestry sector, but also in the environmental sector in general. It is about using available resources well and responsibly. That means, in all actions and in all decisions, keeping an eye on both the present and the future.
However, sustainability also takes into account findings from the past. Resources, material and immaterial goods, economic and ecological units should be protected, especially if they are not renewable. In the economic area, one speaks of the sustainability triangle with the cornerstones of ecology, economy and social issues.
— Live sustainably
Living sustainably is not an invention of our time. God’s Word calls on us Christians to use our gifts, as well as our financial and spiritual gifts, responsibly and wisely in order to maintain the biblical faith in future generations. What a blessing it is when families love and live God’s word for generations!
Therefore, the “sustainability concept” is very important for Christian parents! Because we also want to keep something alive or, better said, maintain it for future generations: the living faith in our Saviour and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
But how do you do that? The basic principle is: It doesn’t matter what and how much we leave behind to our children, what matters is what we leave behind in their hearts!
This is exactly what contradicts the spirit of our time. We Christians run the risk of attaching more value to material goods or intellectual advancement than trying to win our children’s hearts to Jesus.
God has already given Moses an instruction for sustainability: «Thus, you will fear the Lord, your God, and observe the statutes and commandments that I give you — you, and your children, and your children’s children — all the days of your life, so that you might live a long time… and be careful to obey so that you might prosper and multiply greatly …» (Deuteronomy 6:2 f.)Continue reading “Living Sustainably as a Christian”
DEEP INCARNATION: GOD’S REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING WITH CREATION By Denis Edwards 160 pages; Orbis Books; 2019 $24.00 Reviewed by Marian Ronan … Continue reading Review: Ecological Theology Engages Suffering
Humanity was not created to live in small concrete boxes or the even smaller concrete apartment boxes within our cities. Injustice and wars in the world lead us to concentrate more and more often on those effected by it their misery, uncertainty and poverty… Sr. Maria-Annunciata OSB
Continue reading Born in a Garden
A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed. Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.Song of Solomon 4:12-15 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised)
You might think that, with a text taken from the Song of Solomon, my subject is erotic poetry, or, as writers like St. Bernard understood the poem, that it concerns the love of Christ for his Church. If you think that, I’m afraid that you will be disappointed. In fact, I am going to speak about gardening, and my text describes an oriental garden, with water, fruit and spices. It conjures up a delicious picture of sun and shade, fragrance and blossom, and the background tinkle of water. It is worth our noticing that when the writer of Solomon’s Song wanted words to describe the seductive beauty of a beloved, he turned to the imagery of a garden. Earlier he calls her ‘a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.’ (Song of Solomon 2:1.) Metaphors from the garden spring naturally to the lips of lovers, because the garden is a thing of beauty and fragrance, precious and well loved. It has been so down the ages. The hanging gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Bible ends with a city, the city of God; but let us not forget that it begins with a garden, the garden of Eden. That is what the word ‘paradise’ means in the Greek language.
OUR NATURAL LOVE OF GARDENS
In Britain people love their gardens. Selling plants for gardens is big business— you only have to visit a garden centre to see that. In many European countries people live in high-rise blocks without gardens. Of course we have many of these in Britain, and that is one of the reasons why there is such a large demand for cut flowers in a big city. Yet despite this, two out of three houses do have gardens. Sometimes these are large. When I was a diocesan bishop my See house had a three acres of garden attached to it. It was by far the best perk of being within the diocese, but it was not easy to give it all the attention that it deserved. Most gardens are small. Now that I am retired, our garden measures only 37 feet by 35; but every inch of it is lovingly tended, and this is typical of many such gardens. Why is this?
It is refreshing to be able to renew our contact with nature. Something stirs within us when we see the natural processes of germination and growth. We find the beauty of flowers, plants and trees deeply moving. The variety of their shapes and colours and fragrances delights us. The presence of birds and wildlife is a further source of pleasure — although not the pests like the slugs and greenfly! As we keep down the weeds, we are reminded of their spiritual undertones which we find in the gospel parables.
This love of gardens seems entirely proper. Francis Bacon called it ‘the purest of human pleasures’. But it is more than mere pleasure. Gardens speak to us not only of the beauty of creation, but also of the creativity of the Creator. We know that the striking colours of flowers attract bees, which enable plants to propagate their kind; but this does not explain the gracefulness of their shapes or the wonderful harmony of their colouring, or even the marvellous fragrance of some of their flowers or leaves. They are part of the beauty God imprints on his creation. Frances Gurney wrote:
One is nearer God’s Heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.
I don’t think that that is quite true because I am nearer God’s Heart when I receive the Blessed Sacrament, but I’m sure you all know what she means by God’s presence in a garden.
Because we think of gardens as something very personal, we forget that in the aggregate the gardens of this country cover some 12 million acres! That is a very considerable amount of land. It constitutes an important habitat for wildlife. I know that wildlife is often encouraged by birdtables and the like, but unfortunately some gardening activities are not in the best interests of the environment as a whole.
Let me speak about one of these. Do you use peat in your garden? Judging from the number of bags of peat sold in garden centres the odds are that you do. Do you realise that by so doing you are helping to endanger a diminishing national and international resource? Please don’t think that this is just the cry of an ecological fanatic. It is endorsed at the highest levels: for example, the use of alternatives to peat actually has government support. Most British peat-bogs are located in the North, especially the north of Scotland and, thank goodness, they are too inaccessible for commercial exploitation. It is the so-called Lowland Raised Bogs in England that are under threat. Only about 5,000 hectares of primary bog of this type are now left. It cannot be regenerated. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
THE USE OF PEAT IN GARDENS
Peat is not a soil nutrient, but it has a great capacity for retaining and releasing water and at the same time for retaining air, which is very useful for some plants. It is also very long lasting if it is not dried out. These are the reasons why people buy it. Surely, you may be thinking, peat-bogs are not all that important. But that is not so. They are unique habitats of great importance for wildlife, and for some species their last refuge. They are a valuable genetic source for the future. They act as natural reservoirs of highly purified water, and it is important to retain our wetlands for they have vital ecological functions. Peat-bogs are also important for storing and releasing carbon dioxide, although the mechanisms by which they do this are not yet fully understood. If you heed the call not to help in further diminishing peat-bogs beyond the stage where they cannot regenerate, then you could easily use alternatives, among which are included bark, coir (coconut fibre) and many, many others. Even with your little garden, you could in this way help to retain some of our ancient and valuable natural resources.
THE USE OF PESTICIDES IN GARDENS
Do you use pesticides in your garden? It would be surprising if you didn’t. Every gardener knows that pest is the right word to describe the insects and wildlife which spoil our growing plants, and the viruses which infect them. Indeed, those who say that all pesticides are wrong are usually not aware of the vast amount of damage that pests can do, not only to plants, but also to food in store, not to mention the 30 per cent loss that pests would inflict on crops if pesticides were not used. But did you know that, quite apart from farmers and professional nurserymen, domestic gardeners spend £30 million each year on pesticides? Some of these are: derived from natural sources, such as pyrethrum, and do no lasting harm. Others are very toxic. They linger in the soil. They can affect wildlife, and even human beings. It is the synthetic pesticides and fertilisers of which we should beware. It would be possible for you to avoid using any of these synthetic varieties and to start gardening organically instead. Have you ever thought of that? I am constantly amazed by those people who insist on buying organic vegetables in a supermarket, but who never dream of gardening organically at home!
There are other ways in which we can be ‘green gardeners’. We can be careful not to dispose of any toxic substances such as paint and oil by throwing them on the ground. We can make our own fertiliser by creating compost through putting vegetable peelings, grass cuttings and other organic material in a compost heap or compost tumbler. We can plant species that attract wildlife. We can insist on native species of plants and food in our gardens. We can even consider growing some of our own food. These, you may think, are all small matters. Indeed, seeing the size of our gardens, that is true enough. But there are millions and millions of us, and in the aggregate all this adds up to a considerable sum. Furthermore, it can help each one of us to feel that we are doing our bit. When it comes to ecology it is the easiest thing in the world to complain about what others are doing, especially in the world of big business, without in any way changing our own life-style or our own habits.
CUSTODIAN FOR GOD
And the earth really does matter. It belongs to God, not to us. We are only trustees for God. This was made perfectly clear by the Old Testament law of jubilee, whereby after 50 years all land returned to its original owner. The earth, like the sea and the rivers and the air, are our primary resources. The topsoil has taken hundreds of years to form: it is an amazing amalgam of living organic matter mixed with trace elements and inorganic substances. We must not spoil it, because it will take a very long time to regenerate. Again, we must not use up valuable and endangered resources like peat. We must not use violent means of killing insects and other pests which result in lasting damage to wildlife and future plant life. The fact that so much good land has already been wasted makes it even more necessary for us to conserve what remains. We owe this to God, and we owe it to those who come after us.
I began by extolling the beauties and pleasures of a garden. I end with a warning, lest in the care of our garden we unwittingly endanger the future. Today is Sunday. The probability is that you will be at leisure for the rest of the day; and no doubt many of you will be out in your gardens. May I ask you to look at them this afternoon as revealing to you something about the creativity of the Creator? And may I also suggest to you that, if necessary, you decide to make some changes in your future gardening practices?Continue reading “Be a gardener and custodian in God’s Garden”
Yes, we may know how these things happen, but we have absolutely no idea whatsoever why they actually occur. They are dependent upon what we call the ‘constants of nature’ —for scientists, the constants of nature have been surrounded by mystique, there is no particular Continue reading Creation