Introduction:

Dear President, Rev. Dr. Iwan Dacko, Dear Director, Dr. Pavlo Smytsnyuk, Distinguished Professors and Members of Staff of this great Institute of Ecumenical Studies: I wish to express my gratitude for this invitation and the prayerful wishes of our entire Dicastery for a very successful conference on a most relevant theme.

In order to appreciate integral ecology as taught by Pope Francis in Laudato si’, I will offer my remarks today in three parts:

Hear the cry of the Earth

and the cry of the poor

WCC

One of the main subjects of modern reflection is the protection of the environment. The ruthless and methodic man-made vandalism of nature lead nature, as well as the entire inhibited world, to disaster. Recent incidents worldwide demonstrate man’s thoughtlessness towards nature[1]; for example the huge oil slick in Siberia, the fires in Australia, the explosion in Beirut (Lebanon) etc. Man is firmly convicted that sun will always rise the next morning[2]. But, when will he take into serious account that things are getting dangerous?

“Signs of the Times” – a Theological Basis of Ecotheology and the Christian Competence within the Frame of the Environmental Discourse

My contribution has two parts: First, a theological reflection on the topos "signs of the times", which is the basis of our conference. The aim of the argument is the development of five criteria of the signs of the times and their application to the ecological crisis in order to decide why and in what way they are a theological issue.

The second part deals with the question which competence the churches can contribute to the ecological discourse of a pluralistic, partly secular or atheistic society. I will speak also about the encyclical Laudato si’.

  1. Ecological Awareness as “Sign of the Times”
  2. Signs of the times are those phenomena that shape an era due to their universality and frequency. Signs of the times are characteristic for the distinctively new conflict situations within each historical context. Moreover, they refer to an epochal process of change that is historically significant. They do not only concern individual groups and their interests but mankind as a whole. They are universally meaningful for the development and future of mankind. Theologically they aim for a pastoral aggiornamento in order to see the traces of the future in the present.

The cry of the earth, some thoughts on the gospel of creation

Introduction

The topic of the cry of the Earth is very interesting from a theological point of view. It is a means to help Christians to be aware of the ecological crisis crossed by the planet in order to make them feel more responsible of their vocation for the care of creation. Attention is thus given to creation as a being and even a subject being concerned, in so far as it is a subject, by ecological crisis and not only because it concerns the jeopardy of the wellbeing and welfare of humanity. This discovery is plainly a part and a chapter of what Pope Francis calls the Good news of creation and the Gospel of creation. The role of this chapter of Laudato si’ is the shedding of the light of Christian Revelation on our ecological behaviors and more widely on our very sense of inhabitation of our common Home. This light is most important to see because it is the basis for a conversion to Integral ecology.

I. Introduction

Allow me to take you back on a journey to the story of creation. Whenever we think of the Genesis account of creation, we tend to ignore our connection to the environment. Perhaps it is a natural reaction – or perhaps it is a sign of arrogance – but we often overemphasize our creation “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:26) and overlook our creation from “the dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7). Yet, our “heavenliness” should not overshadow our “earthliness.” Most people forget that we human beings did not get a day to ourselves in Genesis. In fact, we shared the sixth day with the creeping and crawling things of the world (Gen. 1:24-26). There is a binding unity and continuity that we share with all of God’s creation; it is helpful – and humble – to recall this truth.

CREATION CARE AND ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE

Orthodox Perspectives

First, allow me to thank the organizers for this ecumenical week and ecological webinar. I am also honored to join such distinguished colleagues.

Let me open with a confession that an ecumenical event such as this is surely neither coincidental nor accidental. I have come to believe that, in our relationship with creation, we are called to evoke and affirm our interconnectedness with the rest of the world. That is what I would call the ecumenical imperative of creation care. Because this sense of interconnectedness reminds us that the earth unites us all – before and beyond any doctrinal, political, racial, or other differences. We may or may not share religious principles, ethnic backgrounds, or political convictions. But we most definitely share an experience of the earth: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the ground that we tread – albeit not always equitably or justly. By some mysterious connection that we do not always understand, the earth reminds us of our interconnectedness.

Dear participants!

If you want to attend English-speaking sessions online (via ZOOM), please register.

October 6th is the last day to register.

If you have any questions - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subcategories