Developing a heart of compassion

Professor Celia Deane-Drummond, founding member of our Theological Reference Group and former Theological Accompanier gave an interesting insight into her work on environmental justice at a recent lunchtime talk.

Listen to a recording of Celia’s full presentation.

This fascinating session began with a practical example of the damage that we have caused to our natural environment and the impact this has, not only on us but on other species – notably pelicans.

Then Celia highlighted how important an issue protecting Creation is for Pope Francis. Right from the beginning, he has stressed the need for us to become protectors of Creation, mentioning it five times in his inaugural address alone. This is an issue of great importance for one of the newest saints, Pope John Paul II.

Celia emphasised our need to develop a heart of compassion, which goes beyond our immediate family needs and extends to other humans and other creatures, and to return to our roots as creatures that live in community – with strong bonds of collaboration, cooperation and altruism.

And she spoke of the incarnation of God in Christ – that God became human in the person of Jesus and lived on earth – as affirming God’s love for the created world, showing creation as both gift and an occasion for joy.

Finally Celia expressed the importance of paying attention to the natural world and the importance of wonder in reawakening a sense of environmental responsibility.

“The human vocation is therefore one that reflects a recognition of Christ in all things, and so humanity is called also to become imago Christi, who brings not just peace, but future hope for all those creatures made vulnerable through suffering. The love of creation is not simply passive love, but reaches out in order to act in particular ways. … The practical task that this call entails is therefore one that is rooted in compassion, but ends in environmental and ecological justice.”

Listen to Q&A session that followed Celia’s presentation.

 

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