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New book by acclaimed Irish theologian to be launched online

By Sarah Mac Donald - 17 June, 2020

A new book by the internationally acclaimed Irish theologian Fr Dermot Lane will be launched next week by scripture scholar, Fr Kieran O’Mahony OSA.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings, ‘Theology and Ecology in Dialogue: The Wisdom of Laudato Si’ will be launched via webinar.

The event, which is being hosted by Messenger Publications in conjunction with the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Episcopal Conference, will take place on Monday 22 June 2020 at 7pm.

‘Theology and Ecology in Dialogue’ outlines a new theology of the natural world and its relationship to the Eucharist. It discusses the relationship that exists between faith and ecology, creation and cosmology.

According to the publishers, the book will be of interest to activists, policymakers, educators, priests, and theologians.

Columban missionary and eco theologian, Fr Sean McDonagh has written the Foreword.

Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, Fr Dermot Lane commented, “Everybody is rightly very concerned about the Covid-19 crisis: so much pain and loss, so much anxiety and uncertainty.”

But he underlined that behind every crisis there is a cause.

“The cause behind the pandemic crisis is climate change, more particularly the destruction of the natural habitat of non-human species within the earth’s eco system,” he said.

The retired President of the Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, and recently retired pastor of Balally Parish in Dublin, said that while everything must be done to find a vaccine for Covid-19, and also for a reformed economic recovery to get people back to work, “we must be careful not to forget that before the pandemic and after the pandemic there was and will be a climate emergency”.

He said the climate emergency is not just one more crisis among many crises.

“Climate change should be at the front and centre in approaching all other crises. In a strange and disturbing way, Covid-19 is a wake-up call, a dress rehearsal, for what awaits humanity if immediate transformative change is not taken to remedy the climate crisis. All of the Reports (UN, IPCC) have indicated that we have at most only 10 years to remedy this radical crisis.”

‘Theology and Ecology in Dialogue: The Wisdom of Laudato Si’ opens with an examination of the meaning of Integral Ecology in contemporary thought and its significance for theology today.

According to Fr Lane, Integral Ecology changes everything. In his book he focuses on the neglected implications of Integral Ecology for faith, spirituality and theology.

“Ecology challenges theology to reimagine who we are, who the Spirit of God is, who Christ is, where creation is going, and what is the role of liturgy in society– all in the full glare of the ecological crisis,” he said.

He explained that his book mines the theology within and behind the ground-breaking encyclical by Pope Francis, ‘Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home’.

According to the publishers, in listening to the cry of the earth, Fr Lane seeks to open a conversation between religion and science in the context of climate change, to develop a theology of the natural world, and to recover the lost link between creation and liturgy.

“A new theology of the Spirit permeates most chapters: it is the key to addressing the current ecological crisis as well as engaging with the increasing number of people who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” Messenger Publications highlights.

According to Fr Lane, until fairly recently, climate change was left to the scientists, politicians, and activists.

“More is needed. Now is the time to hear the voice of religion in that debate in the public forum with a view to initiating new, transformative practices in society, politics, and religions.”

Theology and Ecology in Dialogue: The Wisdom of Laudato Si’: https://www.messenger.ie/product/theology-and-ecology-in-dialogue-the-wisdom-of-laudato-si/

Live streaming of Masses and Services from churches in Ireland and the UK can be found here: http://churchservices.tv

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