Ecology and Catholic Teaching: Learning Resources

“Do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you.”
-Robert Gillman

Sustainability – often defined as the concern to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – is at the forefront of students’ minds.  Thanks to a variety of student-led initiatives like Real Food BC, as well university-wide thinking and action groups like Sustain BC, this concern is taking root and growing within the Boston College community.  To learn more about what’s happening here at BC, visit our sustainability website.

Do these sustainability efforts have any relation to the Catholic and Jesuit mission of Boston College?  What does Catholic teaching have to say, if anything, about the responsibility of humanity to the environment and future generations living on this earth?  In what ways are Catholic leaders – bishops, the Pope, etc. – responding to growing, global sustainability concerns?  John McCarthy, S.J., writes,  In the light of growing environmental concerns we are witnessing an integration of ecology into the fabric of Catholic social thought. Catholic social teaching (CST) has traditionally focused on economic and social development, encompassing issues related to human work, the economy, peace, human rights, the family and national and international political development. In the light of the ecological crisis, that focus is now expanding.”  McCarthy has authored a short, accessible Catholic Social Teaching and Ecology Fact Sheet, which is a helpful introduction to the development of Catholic social teaching on ecology in the last thirty years.  To learn more, you might also check out the website of  The Office of Mission Effectiveness at Villanova University, which contains a page devoted to resources on Catholic teaching and ecology.  You might also explore the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ latest public policy briefing paper on global climate change (The paper is much more accessible than its title sounds!)  Finally, think about signing up to receive Ecology and Jesuits in Communication, a monthly electronic newsletter designed to bring together information from around the world about the importance of engaging in ecological concerns.


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