CHICAGO — In advance of Pope Francis’ encyclical on environment, expected to be released this summer, this year’s World Catholicism Week conference at DePaul University will focus on the environment.
“Fragile World: Ecology and the Church” is the theme of World Catholicism Week, April 8-12. Hosted by the Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology, the conference will be held on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, in the Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave.
The conference takes its name and inspiration from the words of Pope Francis in his 2013 apostolic letter, Evangelii Gaudium: "Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market ... like Saint Francis of Assisi, all of us, as Christians, are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live, and all its peoples."
"Pope Francis has made care for the poor a central theme of his papacy, and care for the environment is closely related,” said William Cavanaugh, professor of Catholic Studies and director of the Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology at DePaul.
“The pope has emphasized that the abuse of the earth usually happens when people try to appropriate the earth, which has been given to us all in common, for their own greedy purposes. In response, Pope Francis calls us to walk more closely with the humble people of the world, and to tread walk lightly in the beautiful and fragile creation that God has given us,” Cavanaugh explained.
This year’s speakers include theologians, scientists and activists from Europe, Central and South America, Africa, the Philippines and the United States.
Among the keynote speakers are University of Notre Dame’s Celia Deane-Drummond, author of “Ecotheology;” Christopher Hamlin, co-author of “The Greening of America, Catholic Style, 1930-1950;” Brayton and Suzanne Shanley, co-founders of the Agape Community; University of Edinburgh’s Michael S. Northcott, author of “A Political Theology of Climate Change;” and Minister General of the Franciscan Order Michael A. Perry, O.F.M.
“The conference hopes to explore these themes by bringing different disciplines like theology, political science, economics, philosophy and others into conversation with each other,” said Cavanaugh. “The conference will help Christians and others critically examine our own shortcomings and the resources our traditions hold for promoting ecological health.”
The schedule for World Catholicism Week 2015 is online at http://bit.ly/1G9wZHy. The week’s events are free and open to the public but advance registration is required. To register: http://bit.ly/1G9x2D5.
An eco-spirituality resource fair, featuring the sale of a variety of fair trade items, will be held from 3-5 p.m. April 8 on the Lincoln Park Campus quad. Details at: http://bit.ly/19MAZkp.