Date of Award
Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.
Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)
Mary E. McGann
In the last two hundred years, the whole of creation has suffered a great deal of abuse, violation and destruction that is threatening the continued existence of creation. This plundering of the earth has resulted in various changes and disasters in the universe ranging from climate change, air and water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, decline in the quality of the human life, and massive migration. It is through creation that God first reveals himself to humanity. Any abuse or violation of creation is a sin against God. Therefore, humanity, appointed as careers or stewards, have engaged in the exploitation and violation of creation for economic and selfish reasons. If this action continues in this same direction, it is possible that humanity and all living creatures may go into extinction. In the light of this imminent ecological crisis that Pope Francis calls for an ecological conversion on the part of all humanity, individuals and nations alike. He stresses the importance of change of heart and attitude in the ways and manner in which we use and treat the creation and human beings, most especially the poor. Such a change of heart and action will invariably lead to reconciliation between God and humanity, human to human, and the human community with the environment. And it will likewise guarantee a restoration that enables the continued existence of creation and a fulfilled life for humanity.
This thesis examines a process of ecological conversion through the sacramental rite of reconciliation, which is rooted in the invitation of God to humanity to care and serve creation. It emphasizes the role of mentors and guides in the sacramental process; enumerates the church’s teaching on the ecological crisis through the eyes of Pope ii Francis in Laduato Si and the Jesuit document, Healing a Broken World. It explores pertinent aspects of church’s social teaching on social sin, social responsibilities, social response; and provides formation that centers on the word of God and the prayer, both liturgical and individual, which enable conversion. At the heart of this sacramental process, it focuses ecological conversion in a carefully prepared Rite of Reconciliation itself. In order to sustain this ecological conversion and reconciliation that will ultimately lead to a restoration with God, each other and Creation, it extends the Rite with further formation in the spiritual, educational and social dimensions of ecological responsibility.
In presenting this sacramental process, this thesis calls our attention to the growing and urgent challenges of the ecological crisis and offers a faith-based response. The need to create awareness of the imminent and remote disasters that are associated with the ecological crisis, to educate the community to the importance of protecting the environment and caring for the poor, and to create a faith-based response are all critical for the future of the Earth community. The sacramental process described here can further be supported with ecological studies in schools and seminaries; through liturgical worship of God in, with and through Creation; and through regular forms of community prayer that remain attentive to the needs of the Earth and the poor and sustain the community’s conversion.
Ogundipe, Emmanuel Oyediran, "Embracing an Ecological Conversion: Addressing the Effects of the Ecological Crisis on the Poor and the Earth Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation" (2018). Jesuit School of Theology Dissertations. 27.