2015 AWRA Annual Conference November Denver, CO Eric J. Fitch Marietta College

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1 Shepherds of the Church and Stewards of the World: The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI and the leadership of Pope Francis on Climate Change, Water Resources and Stewardship of Creation: 2015 AWRA Annual Conference November Denver, CO Eric J. Fitch Marietta College

2 Social Justice and the Catholic Church Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God's special love for the poor and called God's people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor... liberty to captives... recovery of sight to the blind"(lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the eucharist. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, "To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren" (no. 1397). United States Council of Catholic Bishops

3 Seven Priorities of Catholic Social Justice Life and Dignity of the Human Person Call to Family, Community and Participation Rights and Responsibilities Option for the Poor and Vulnerable The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers Solidarity Care for God s Creation

4 Care for God s Creation We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of Gods creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored. Since the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) ( ), Social Justice themes have been an increasing aspect of Church action and concurrently suffers as part of a conservative/traditionalist backlash within the Church.

5 Implementation and Enthusiasm from the Papacy for SJ and Creation Care From the Second Vatican Council (Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI to Pope John Paul I to Pope Paul II to Benedict XVI) to now, the basic themes of papal/vatican statements regarding the Environment were generally positive, with the exception of suppressing the Creation Centered Theology push of theologians such as Matthew Fox

6 Inadvertent Exception Humanae Vitae On Human Life Conflict between protecting human life and protecting the environment has always been present in modern Catholic theology and practice.

7 Pope Benedict XVI After the death of Pope John Paul II who had a lengthy papacy, no one knew who or what to expect of new pope. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger the head of the Sacred Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith ( God s Rottweiler was his not so complementary nickname as enforcer of Church doctrine and the Magisterium was a favorite among many of the traditionalists and a close confidant of the late Pope.

8 Who is Joseph Ratzinger? Born Apr Ordained Jun Consecrated May 1977 Created Jun Long and distinguished career as Theologian, Bishop and member of Curia. Part of the inner circle of advisors to John Paul II

9 Papacy Became Pope in 2005, served until 2013, First pope to retire in hundreds of years Health problems and desired to return to his scholarship

10 Expectations After the long papacy of Pope John Paul II (27 years), people didn t know what to expect of the then new Pope Generally speaking, traditionalists were optimistic and progressives were pessimistic. Pope Benedict surprised most of them.

11 Background Pope Benedict began his ministry With a very progressive outlook, but it is said he was soured by student riots at his home university and wrote/preached about retaining social order and was generally considered a conservative. As it turns out, he retained many what would be considered progressive views in the U.S.

12 Example: World Day of Peace Message The Church has a responsibility towards creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone, and above all to save mankind from the danger of selfdestruction. The degradation of nature is closely linked to the cultural models shaping human coexistence: consequently, when human ecology is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits.[27]

13 Prolific Writer Pope Benedict became a prolific writer on the Environment and issue of human and natural justice In several of his World Day of Peace messages he spoke global climate change, soil loss, and many other environmental issues

14 Problem: Passive Aggressive Pushback Traditionalists in the Catholic Church have very often chosen to ignore these teachings, esp. when their political philosophies contradict these teachings. Francis in his short Papacy so far has been in agreement with Benedict and it is likely that clashes over these teachings will continue into the future.

15 Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? (Pope Francis) First Pope from South/Latin America Jesuit Had a life before Seminary Chemical Tech Nightclub Bouncer Academic & Pastor

16 Pope Francis First Pope in over 400 years to succeed a still living Pope Been on the job for just 2 years He doesn t expect to be a long reigning/serving Pope Appearances seem to portend him to be a transformational Pope like Pope John XXIII

17 Francis Pope Francs chose his name after St. Francis of Assisi Patron Saint Animals Environment Ecologists/Environmental Scientists Pope Francis in the homily of his first public Mass: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God s plan inscribed in nature protectors of one another and the environment.

18 Simplicity, Humility, Service Refused many of the perks of being Pope housing, isolation, etc. Has told members of then clergy, esp. Bishops, to remember they are servants first that they should be shepherds who smell like their sheep Reforming the Curia

19 Deeply concerned with poor preferential option Has spoken out against the excesses of: Consumerism/Consumption of Resources Capitalism, esp. the naked, raw unregulated form advocated by political conservatives in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, etc. Accused of being a Communist

20 Family, Environment & Sustainability In 2014, Pope Francis held an extraordinary synod of the Bishops of the Church on Pastoral Outreach to Families In 2015, Pope Francis will be bringing our his first Encyclical; a general letter to the whole Church teaching about Church theology; in this case: Moral theology of the most critical environmental issue

21 Laudato Sil (Praised Be) Being published to the world on June 18 The title is from St. Francis Canticle of the Creatures Will emphasize stewardship of the Environment esp. on Climate Change Stewardship of the Environment goes hand in hand with care for the poor

22 Popes John Paul, Benedict and Francis All emphasized stewardship of the environment as moral imperative It was not at the core of JPII and Benedict s public ministries Francis Social Justice for the Poor and for the Environment at the core and intertwined Science and technology are important but

23 Transformation One of Pope Francis collaborators Fr. Eduardo Agosta Scarel on Laudato Si sums up the Pope s central thesis: He is aiming at a change of heart. What will save us is not technology or science. What will save us is the ethical transformation of our society.

24 Why is this important? The Pope is the nominal Spiritual leader of over a Billion of the world s people and a respected figure in a broader circle of faith filled people around the world He is a respected political figure e.g. key role in the normalization efforts between the U.S and Cuba Acts as a counterweight against Climate Denial

25 Importance continued The Pope Means Business an encyclical is the second most important document issued by Popes (after Apostolic Constitutions) He is directly confronting climate change deniers in and out of the Church

26 5 Reasons Laudto Si matters Reynard Loki 1. Builds on the foundation of his predecesors 2.It shows that Africa has a high level champion: the continent of Africa is the fastest growing part of the Church and the area that is projected to have the worst impacts of Climate Change 3. It comes at a crucial time

27 5 cont. 4. Helps reduce rift between Science and Religion 5. It has significant reach even beyond Catholicism.

28 Questions, Comments, Moral exhortations!

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