Although Catholics have lagged behind Protestants in environmental activism, that situation may be changing with the growth of local church efforts in this cause, reports America magazine (Feb. 13).
The article cites historian Mark Stoll as saying that the reason Catholics have not been prominent environmentalists is that their religious worldview encouraged a sense of sacredness among a community of people rather than with nature. Catholics still have not built many national efforts or coalitions on environmentalism, and instead have focused on local efforts. These grassroots efforts have mushroomed under funding by the Environmental Justice Program of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Other independent efforts, such as Santuario Sisterfarm in central Texas, and Genesis Farm in New Jersey, call for a “new cosmology” that sees both land, natural life and humans in the same ecosystem. Although there may be a need for a national organization, the local parish system of the church is seen as the best base for organizing environmental work. However, most priests don’t preach on environmental themes– a reality that such organizations as Preaching the Just Word at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Center is trying to change.
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