Catholic theologians to explore ecology at annual meeting

This story appears in the CTSA 2017 feature series. View the full series.
Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Schwen)
Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Schwen)

by Heidi Schlumpf

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hschlumpf@ncronline.org

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One week after President Donald Trump stunned the world by pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Catholic theologians are gathering for their annual meeting, held this year in Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 8-11. The theme: ecology.

Themes for the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) convention are chosen years in advance, but this topic couldn't be more timely. In keynote addresses and workshop sessions, speakers will explore the intersection of faith and care for the environment, such as "an ethic of aridity," Trinitarian perspectives on ecology, and an ecofeminist response to Laudato Si', Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical on the environment.

During the four-day meeting, CTSA members will also consider divesting from fossil fuel-producing companies. "Our investment policies must not betray the social mission of the church, which includes promoting ecological responsibility," states a policy report created by an ad hoc committee that has been studying the issue since 2013. The report will serve as a starting point for a conversation about divestment on Friday.

Earlier this year, the CTSA also took a stand against Trump's executive order on refugees and migration as "morally unjust and religiously dangerous." In a statement released Jan. 31, the board of trustees called for the executive order to be withdrawn and its implementation stopped.

The ban on immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries "conflicts starkly with the religious and ethical values held in the Roman Catholic tradition," the CTSA statement said.

"Our duties to refugees and other severely vulnerable migrants is also based on the conviction that every man, woman and child is created in the image and likeness of God and has a dignity that must be respected by all," it said.

More than 350 theologians from all over the United States are attending this year's CTSA meeting. NCR will be blogging and tweeting from the conference with the hashtag #CTSA2017.

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[NCR contributor Heidi Schlumpf is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America. Follow her reporting here and on Twitter with the hashtag #CTSA2017. Schlumpf teaches communications at Aurora University and is the author of Elizabeth Johnson: Questing for God.]

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