“As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil, and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.” —Pope Francis, Manila, January 18, 2015
The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor are inextricably linked. All of us are called to pursue right relationship with God, with each other, and with creation.
In his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invited us to embrace a simpler lifestyle that sharply contrasts with our wasteful, throwaway culture. He affirmed that climate change is human induced and that we must transition from highly polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources without delay.
As a faith community, we can bring our values to this important conversation as we promote policies and practices that care for creation and the poor and vulnerable, who suffer the worst consequences of environmental harm.
In 2011, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, made a similar call in his letter On Ecology and accompanying task force report Healing a Broken World, which encourages an ecological change of heart that manifests our gratitude to God for the gift of creation.
Care for creation remains a frontier for Midwest Jesuit institutions, communities, and ministries. We see a growing and significant number of programs led by Jesuits and colleagues that are advancing care for creation through conservation practices, ecological restoration, research, education, and advocacy in both the public and corporate sectors. Universities convene public forums and opportunities for dialogue, schools and parishes implement ecological and educational initiatives, and retreat centers provide prayer and reflection opportunities to deepen the relationship between spirituality and ecology.
Some online Jesuit/Catholic related resources to promote care for creation are: