Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Monday, May 2, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : Arts : Arts and Entertainment News
1/19/2013 1:02:00 PM
Book explores how religious ethics can honor the earth
This is the cover of
This is the cover of "Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key" by Larry L. Rasmussen.
Catholic News Service

Our age of speeded-up climate change, extinction of various species, wholesale destruction of ecosystems such as coral reefs and rainforests, and unjust economic and political realities calls for radical changes in how we think about human society. "Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key" is Larry L. Rasmussen's deeply reflective and eloquent response.

Rasmussen, the Reinhold Niebuhr professor emeritus of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary, writes from the perspective of a leading scholar of religion and ethics -- also drawing from science, history and even poetry as he passionately asserts that we must care not only for human life but for the health of the entire planet.

Rasmussen makes a compelling case that we need to develop a new spiritual and ecological ethic that will preserve our planet's well-being for present and future generations.

In a fascinating section, he discusses the Great Chain of Being, which he calls "arguably the most influential of all Christian cosmologies." This long-dominant perspective "pictured life as an outflowing of the divine in an endless array of diverse and interdependent lives." God reigned supreme, followed by angels and then human beings (with men ranked higher than women). Peoples and cultures deemed "inferior" "were the unconsulted beneficiaries of a salvific gospel and way of life."

This view ultimately justified the conquest and colonization of non-Christian nations around the globe, forced slaves to undergo the middle passage "with great loss of life and centuries of ensuing coercion and fear" and led to the near-extermination of native peoples.

In place of the Great Chain of Being, Rasmussen looks to a web-of-life sacramentalism that values every creature, but "consciously shifts the common good as the long-standing Catholic ethical norm for human society to a common good inclusive of the planet, a good that includes global 'commons' such as the atmosphere and the oceans."

Such a view makes the planet earth itself a sacrament; it is "a disclosure of God's presence by visible and tangible signs, like the waters of baptism and the waters of the Columbia River and its salmon."

This perspective shares much with the teachings of other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. For example, Rasmussen quotes Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk: "If we're capable of recognizing the flowing river, the blue sky, the blossoming tree, the singing bird, the majestic mountains, the countless animals, the sunlight, the fog, the snow, the innumerable wonders of life as miracles that belong to the kingdom of God, we'll do our best to preserve them and not allow them to be destroyed."

Rasmussen considers at length the element of water, using it as a case-study opportunity "to think morally about and with a primal element of earth." All religious traditions, he writes, understand water as a source and sustainer of life and accordingly create sacred water rites such as the mikvah, the Jewish ritual bath, or the Christian rite of baptism. He believes that to use water resources justly requires developing moral systems that consider not only the good of human beings, but of the planet earth itself. "A sacramental sense and web-of-life morality are more conducive to that than either chain-of-being sacramentalism or the commodity morality of industrialism."

But, Rasmussen adds, "All water engineers need not become Franciscans. But there would be sound ecological water management, not command-and-control management, if they adopted (St.) Francis' adjectives: 'Praised be you my Lord, for Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious, and pure' (Canticle of the Sun)."

As he crafts this new ethic of spirituality and ecology, Rasmussen draws not only from official church documents and teachings but also from sources as varied as Thoreau, Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, Albert Einstein and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The result is a deeply insightful analysis of our planetary crisis that offers inspiration about how we might change ours to a more earth-honoring faith.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved