Made for Us: 10 Symposium Quotes About Catholics and the Environment

Environmental activism and committed Catholicsm are often set against each other — but the mission of the Center for Integral Ecology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, is to heal the rift. The Center recently co-sponsored a session at Benedictine College’s annual Symposium on Transforming Culture March 15-16. The panel featured short lectures by three experts with Q&A on Catholicism, ecology, conscience, and the thought of Pope Benedict XVI. Three presentations sought to unite concern for conservation and understanding of the natural world (environmental ecology) with an emphasis on the unique place and responsibility of the human person within creation (human ecology):
  • Emery de Gaal of Mundelein Seminary delivered a paper on “St. John Henry Newman and Conscience.”
  • Matthew Ramage, Professor of Theology and Co-Director of the Center for Integral Ecology, spoke on “Renewing All Creation in Christ: The Church’s Mission of Integral Ecological Education.”
  • Michael Taylor of Thomas More College then spoke on “Truth Worth Dying for Love: Love, Authority, and Christian Education.”
Here are 10 notable quotes from this session.

1: Urgent Task

“An education in ecological responsibility is urgent.” – Pope John Paul II, Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace

2: A Covenant

“Catholicism’s unique vision of care for creation is grounded in the ‘covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying’.” – Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 50

3: God’s Voice

“Conscience is divine in origin and speaks personally to every human being, as something like God’s unerring voice since it is eminently relational between the celestial realm and the human being.” – Father Emery de Gaal

4: God’s Two Books

“The Catholic tradition sees Scripture and Creation as God’s two books, each of whose pages are filled with immeasurable richness” – Dr. Matthew Ramage

5: Nature Reveals

“Revelation is that by which everything else is illuminated and revealed as more reasonable. Thus, thanks to Revelation, the meaning we perceive in a sunrise or the coming of spring finds its fullest form.” – Dr. Michael Taylor

6: Nature Teaches

“Whatever I know of the divine sciences and the Holy Scriptures, I have learned in woods and fields.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

7: Natural Consequence

“The opinion of those who say … that it is a matter of complete indifference what one thinks about creation provided one has a true interpretation of God is notoriously false. For an error about creation is reflected in a false opinion about God.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

8: First, See

“As C.S. Lewis memorably wrote, before applying our knowledge anything else, the first task must be to see. Specifically, we need to educate our eyes to behold how it is that our Lord manifests his glory in the world around us. Scripture describes animals, plants, and even inanimate beings as bearers of the Logos who ‘tell’ or ‘declare’ the glory of God.” – Dr. Matthew Ramage

9: Nature Inspires

“‘A pedagogy of observation of natural beauty’ ineluctably brings out the best in man, including the habits of ‘silence, interior station, listening, patient waiting, admiration, discovery of harmony, respect for natural equilibrium, meaning of gratuity, adoration and contemplation.’” – Pontifical Council for Culture, The Via Pulchritudinis, Privileged Pathway for Evangelization and Dialogue (2006)

10: Nature’s Transformation

“As we learn from Scripture, the Fathers, and popes, all creatures are destined in some way to be transfigured on the Last Day. If the Church is going to be the one to finally do ecological education right and transform culture in a meaningful way, surely this must be a key part of the message: that we are aiming not merely to transform human culture but indeed renew the entirety of creation in Christ.” – Dr. Matthew Ramage

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