Catholic scholars have risen to the challenge. They are exploring:
- A God-centered understanding of creation, and of human beings' special place in the web of life and their relationship to their fellow creatures.
- Applications of Catholic social teaching to environmental issues — particularly concepts of natural law, the common good, distributive justice, concern for the poor, and respect for life.
- How Catholic liturgy and spirituality can express God’s presence in the natural world and nurture care for creation and the pursuit of social justice.
- The insights of eminent Catholic theologians into the nature of the physical world, and ways to reformulate them in the light of current science and identify their moral implications for today.
Such thinking is not merely an intellectual exercise. As tested ideas are integrated into teaching, proclamation, and programs, the work of scholars contributes a solid foundation for responsible church involvement in the environmental arena.
The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops Environmental Justice Program has sponsored a series of conferences beginning in 1994. These events have engaged a wider circle of Catholic scholars and universities in research, writing, teaching, and discussions of faith and ecology and have broadened awareness of Catholic environmental thought both within and beyond the Church. The most recent of these conferences, “The Person, the Poor, and the Common Good: A Catholic Dialogue on the Environment,” was held in October 2004 at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Environmental concerns have also been entering the mainstream of Catholic scholarship through:
- Sessions on theology and ecology at annual meetings of scholars’ associations such as the Catholic Theological Society of America.
- Public forums such as those presented by the Woodstock Theological Center.
- The development of college and university programs in environmental ethics.
- A growing number of scholarly books and articles.
- Research Centers
- Internship Oppertunities
- Sustainability Offices/Institutes/Initiatives/Centers/ Councils/Sites
- Aquinas College
- Boston College
- Canisius College
- The Catholic University of America
- College of the Holy Cross
- Creighton University
- Duquesne University
- DePaul University
- Georgetown University
- Gonzaga University
- Loyola University Chicago
- Loyola University Maryland
- Madonna University
- Manchester College
- Regis University
- Seton Hall University
- University of St. Francis
- St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
- St. Michael’s College
- Stonehill College
- Thomas More College
- University of Portland
- Wheaton College
- Xavier University
- University of Notre Dame
- Molloy College
- Santa Clara University
- College of St. Benedict St. John’s University
- St. John’s University
Such work is crucial if environmental concern is to become more deeply rooted among present and future Catholic leaders and Catholic culture in general.