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Eco Catholic

Eco Catholic is an NCR blog exploring the green Catholic imagination and ecological spirituality, along with current developments in environmental issues. Contributors include Sharon Abercrombie, a journalist who has covered the environment, spirituality, women’s issues, animal rights and social justice for many newspapers; Fr. Charles Morris, a priest of the archdiocese of Detroit who teaches courses in sustainability at Madonna University in Livonia, Mich.; and Donna Schaper, a senior minister of the United Church of Christ who is based in New York. Staff writer Brian Roewe moderates and edits the blog, and can be reached at

The sacred act of keeping house


A lot of people don’t like to keep house. We dislike dusting and sweeping. We disdain the cleaning of the toilet areas. We don’t like taking out the garbage or filling up the bird feeders.

Errands can drive us crazy, as can the maintenance of our “home page,” or the memorization of our passwords. I used to tell my three kids (two boys and a girl) that only boys could vacuum, and for several good years, they actually believed me. It was my best “sex education” venture of all.

Cardinal Turkson, say 'no' to GMOs


The following is an open letter to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who will speak at the World Food Prize 2013 Borlaug Dialogue (Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 16-18), which will include an award ceremony honoring three scientists (among them a Monsanto executive and the founder of Syngenta Biotechnology) for GMO, or genetically modified organism, discoveries

Your Eminence,

The 'Holy Land' of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Pipeline


There's part of Kentucky fondly called the "Holy Land." It's where Maryland Catholics settled in the 18th and 19th centuries after moving westward across the Allegheny Mountains. It probably has more religious establishments per square inch than any rural place in the country. It is home to the Loretto Motherhouse, the Kentucky Ursulines, Kentucky Dominicans, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Abbey of Gethsemani, to name but a few.

In Abu Dhabi, Ramadan a time for fasting and food waste awareness


Monday marked the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Traditionally a time of fasting, prayer and introspection for Muslims worldwide, the month has an added focus this year in one Arab nation, where they have connected the religious period with the theme from World Environment Day 2013 — “reduce your foodprint.”

Aging amid seeding and the seasons


As I age, I want to notice what I think I have already seen. As the planet ages, I want us all to notice what we think we have already seen. Otherwise, we go to seed without seeding.

I once saw the deep-blue wine berries of fall differently than I had seen them before. Often considered a weed, they are blousy and fat, dominating and unplanted. They look like those shelves in antique stores where blue glasses and vases and pitchers cling together for color.

On fragility, from caution to courage


Fragile is a word that keeps following me around.

In a recent evaluation, one of my members said that my congregation is delightfully fragile. He meant tender, not fixed; he meant open, not closed; he meant safe for vulnerability. It was a compliment, not a complaint.

Then at a conference on developing a new spiritual narrative for the 21st century, it resurfaced: “We live in a fragile universe, which some say has only five more years to fix itself.” I thought that hyperbolic, but then again no one has ever accused me of not excelling at denial. 


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In This Issue

August 2-15, 2013


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