Appalachia

Before 'Laudato Si'' Appalachian pastorals explored themes of mining in the mountains

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COMMENTARY


From all the rich content of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” regarding theological and scriptural understandings of “Our Common Home,” one section has caught the attention of those living in the coalfields of Central Appalachia. In section 165, the pope turns to what needs to be done in light of climate change: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels -- especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas -- needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”

For 40 years, pastoral letters focus on sustaining Appalachian culture

Forty years since the bishops of Appalachia first called attention to the lives and struggles of people in the region, a new effort is underway to raise the voices of Appalachians celebrating their accomplishments and confronting their struggles.

Work is continuing on a new pastoral letter called the People's Pastoral. It is percolating from the Appalachians themselves and will reflect on their stories, struggles and hopes, said Jeannie Kirkhope, coordinator of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, which is organizing the project.

Mountaintop removal mining poses economic dilemma for West Virginians

Sitting on the shaded front porch of his two-room cabin on a lazy August afternoon, Delphin Brock pointed toward the next mountain ridge where a few weeks earlier heavy equipment was remaking the landscape. Then, he said, noise from the mining activity echoed over the mountains.

Pastoral letter ‘from the trenches’ emerging in Appalachia

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Pastoral letters tend to function as top-down, formal documents from Catholic bishops filled with instructions and moral directives.

But for its next statement, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, a 44-year old organization devoted to social and environmental justice, is flipping that model upside down.

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April 21-May 4, 2017

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