Friday, 26 July 2013

WYD - 3

The last part of Sophie's talk in Rio, HUMANISING ECOLOGY.

 Taking all of this into account, it means that we need a humanistic ecological vision that takes account of the special nature of human beings, as well as the ecosystem in which we belong. This vision, as Pope Benedict said, should take in “not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations”; that is, our “duties towards the human person” (Caritas in Veritate, 51). For all these things are part of what we mean by the nature of human beings. We are social by nature. We are born into families. We find meaning in our lives through loving and serving others. We have a dignity that can be expressed in the form of rights and duties.

Pope Benedict taught us that Christianity tries to balance the value of the human person with the value of nature as God’s creation. The Book of Genesis – as well as the Psalms and many other parts of the Bible, which praise the glories of nature – teach Christians to be responsible and gentle and wise in the way we behave towards the world around us. The virtue of

Thursday, 25 July 2013

WYD – 2

Sophie's talk in Rio continued.

One of the symbols of the ecology movement is a famous photograph of the earth from space that was taken by one of the Apollo spaceships on a lunar mission in the late 60s. It showed people very vividly that we all live on one extremely beautiful and delicate planet. It tells us that all creatures on the earth are dependent on the ecology and resources of planet earth. Political boundaries between one nation and another are invisible from space, and so the image also came to represent a way of transcending our national differences and our enmities in order to work for the preservation of the planet we share.

But the image also teaches us something else. We are just one among many

World Youth Day 2013

Sophie Caldecott (now Lippiatt) is representing her family at WYD this year, having been invited by Creatio to speak on Faith and the Environment to the young people there. It is a talk she and her dad wrote together, representing the concern of two generations for the world that we will hand on to the next. Ecology should be part of everyone's education. Taught the right way, without the intrusion of ideology, it can help to awaken a deeper appreciation for God's creation in its complexity and interdependence, as well as a sense of moral responsibility. In fact a concern for ecology and conservation runs deep in the family. Her uncle Julian is a professional conservationist. Leonie, her mother, also has a deep interest in the subject, and her great-grandfather, an artist, was involved in setting up the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Sophie's talk on 24 July began like this:

Through the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis, ecology has become an important part of Catholic social teaching. In 2011, Pope Benedict said, "The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly.” In his

Saturday, 13 July 2013


The Spring 2013 issue of the international review Communio is on the topic of education. It includes a classic article by philosopher Robert Spaemann called “The Courage to Educate”, which presents a series of important questions about the state of education. “Why has it become necessary to point out something self-evident? Why has it become necessary to be courageous to educate?” Spaemann asks. He sketches an outline of what education really is—a formation of the human being—and then points out a number of ways this idea has been mistreated. It seems we no longer believe that education is about an affirmation of the future—in a word, that it is worth truly educating our children. He writes that “we must ask ourselves what resources we are actually living on, and the questions of how our children should live can only give impetus to do so. Many things that are being said publicly today can actually be said only by people who have no children or who have written off their children.”