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The Vatican and Ecospirituality: Tensions, Promises and Possibilities for Fostering an Emerging Green Catholic Spirituality

Author(s): Christopher Hrynkow | Dennis Patrick O’Hara

Journal: Ecozon@ : European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment
ISSN 2171-9594

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 177;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Since John Paul II’s 1990 World Day of Peace Message on the ecological crisis, greenthemes have been a recurring feature of the Vatican’s public teachings. Working with aselection of Catholic Social Teaching documents, this article explores the Vatican’sreactions to and accommodations of ecospirituality. A critical lens informed byecotheological ethics is employed to analyse the Vatican’s specific brand ofecospirituality, particularly as it relates to its condemnation of biocentrism, while alsoacknowledging official efforts to green the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine and faithbasedpractices. With the advantage of the critical distance that a North Americanperspective provides, this article suggests ways that the Vatican can foster a moreintegral and substantively peaceful greening of Catholic Social Teaching and Catholicspirituality by drawing on resources from within Catholic intellectual tradition, as wellas other expressions of ecospirituality, ecotheology, and Catholic Social Teachingdocuments from local bishops’ conferences in Europe and the Americas.
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