Eco Catholic

Recent oil spills reinforce Keystone pipeline as a crude option


In the days of the Canadian frontier, indigenous peoples and fur traders used liquid bitumen to seal their canoes.

With the advance of technology, however, the substance has become a lucrative boon for the oil industry. For the rest of us, it has all the makings of an ecological horror story. Bitumen is a viscous, low-grade petroleum. It is the chief ingredient in the dirty oil mix now being exported from the Alberta tar sands to the United States.

Safeguarding creation expected as major theme at Rio's World Youth Day


When hundreds of thousands of young Catholics gather with Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro in the summer, reflections on safeguarding the environment will be part of the program.

Like earlier editions of World Youth Day, the July celebration in Rio de Janeiro will include morning catechetical sessions and afternoon cultural events.

Tracing the clues to Pope Francis' ecology


With a name like Francis, it’s not hard for a pope to draw the attention of environmentalists.

It's even easier when the Francis in reference is Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology.

For some, the namesake indicated Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would place respect and protection for creation as a central tenant of his papacy, following the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

A small stand against a Delaware vegetable ban


I recently stayed overnight with some friends outside of Wilmington, Del., in a "deeded community." I asked them if they grew vegetables in the summer and they said, "No, it was part of the deed that no vegetables could be grown."

The development was built in the 1950s and numbers around 300 homes. They are all the same in structure, different in decoration and are required, by deed, to grow flowers in the front in the summer. "Some color" is required, while all vegetables are banned. 

United Nations creates World Water Day to address water crisis


Indigenous people have always celebrated the four elements of earth, air, water and fire because of the life-giving gifts they bring to us. They ensure our very survival on this planet.

The Zoroastrian religion, a pre-Islamic, monotheistic faith founded by the prophet Zarathustra, in sixth-century B.C. Persia (now Iran) paid homage to the four elements by assigning an angel to each of them. The angel of water is named Anahita.

Dalai Lama to key Portland environmental summit


A Catholic university and Tibetan college are joining forces to bring the Dalai Lama to Portland, Ore., to key a May 9-11 environmental summit in the area.

"The summit includes three days of teachings and conversation with the Dalai Lama and leaders from Pacific Northwest environmental, scientific, policy and faith communities," according to a story from the Catholic Sentinel, the newspaper of the Portland archdiocese.

Daylight savings and time


What does daylight savings time mean to an environmentalist?  Does it ratify our sense of the simultaneity of the local and the global?

After all, California has a different time “zone” than New York, and it is hard to sing “White Christmas” at any time in Florida. Australia has winter when Chicago has summer, and vice versa. The clock has long been the great relavatizer and, therefore, globalizer. What China does with carbon matters to what Cincinnati does with carbon.

Seminars on the Cosmic Christ will breathe life into Lenten season


It is nearing the middle of Lent, and your spirit matches the Midwest winter outside -- gray and frozen over. Perhaps you are bored by the same lifeless, dried-out religious services but feel too guilty to say it aloud. Maybe you are overwhelmed with anger and sadness around the suffering planet, but feel a sense of overwhelming helplessness around making any kind of appreciable difference.


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In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016