SHEP SEMINAR on POPE FRANCIS’ EARTH ENCYCLICAL, 16th Sept. 2015

Pope Francis has now published his encyclical dealing with Climate Justice and the Earth. It is intended to be a major wake-up call to Christians and to people of other religions or no religion. But will it make any real difference to our world? Will it help to galvanize us as individuals, and the politicians we elect, to take effective action to meet the huge ecological problems which threaten our whole way of life, and which are already severely affecting the poorest people in poor countries? The impact of the encyclical will depend on how well we get to know it and how we respond to its call.

The seminar will offer an opportunity to reflect on the encyclical’s significance and message. It will be conducted by Donal Dorr DD, author of many books on aspects of justice and spirituality, in particular Option for the Poor and for the Earth: Catholic Social Teaching.

The seminar will involve three talks by Fr. Dorr about the encyclical, each one followed by discussion and sharing in the group:

  • In the first part there will be a talk outlining the ecological spirituality presented in the encyclical, reflecting on its strong points and noting aspects which could be developed further. There will be a chance for some discussion in the group after this talk, including some sharing of participants’ own experiences of ways in which the gifts of nature nourish the spirit.
  • A second talk will focus on the ecological problems which the encyclical mentions. During the discussion in the group after this talk there can also be some sharing of participants’ own knowledge and experience of these and other environmental problems.
  • The third talk will look at the practical actions which the encyclical proposes as ways to enrich our own ecological spirituality and to respond to the problems. During the discussion in the group after this talk there can again be some sharing of participants’ own experiences and suggestions for finding energy and commitment to develop a sustainable way of living.
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