In a book edited by Vincent Miller, the University’s Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture, 13 international theologians, ethicists, scientists and economists explore the spiritual, moral and practical themes of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment.
“Pope Francis captured the world’s attention with his call to address the climate crisis in Laudato Si’,” said Miller. “The crisis we face is a matter of science, economic systems, politics and human moral action, so a successful response must draw upon the knowledge and wisdom of all these disciplines.”
To continue the transdisciplinary conversation of Pope Francis’s encyclical, a 2016 conference — Everything is Connected: Teaching Pope Francis’ “Integral Ecology” — was organized by Miller and the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
“We gathered leading physicists, ecologists, economists, ethicists and theologians to discuss the details of Francis’ religious teaching from within the context of their field,” explained Miller. Together, we developed a better understanding of the crisis we face, and sketched the actions and policies needed to respond.”
The findings and perspectives shared by the scholars at the conference were compiled into a book: The Theological and Ecological Vision of Laudato Si’: Everything is Connected. It addresses the connections between the theology of creation and science, offers a spiritual vision of love and responsibility for creation, explores the connection between Christian solidarity with the poor and concern for the environment, and situates Francis’ encyclical in the history of church teaching.
Tobias Winright, the Hubert Mäder endowed chair of health care ethics and an associate professor in the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, recommended the book as “impressive for both its breadth and depth.”
“I regard this collection ... as a go-to resource for anyone who seeks to answer Pope Francis’ call to address climate change and to care for creation,” Winright added.
Contributing authors from the University of Dayton include Bob Brecha, Hanley Sustainability Institute research director and frequent visiting scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and Sandra Yocum, University Professor of Faith and Culture who has written three books and more than 30 journal articles and book chapters, much of it dealing with Catholicism’s intersection with American culture.
Other contributors include a former co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and come from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing, Xavier University (Ohio), Loyola University (Maryland), Loyola Marymount (California), Andover Newton Theological School, Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the Berlin Institute of Technology, the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin), Creighton University and the College of Saint Elizabeth.