Guest Post: Tom Collingwood, PhD

Tom Collingwood has another interesting post, reflecting on Archbishop of Denver Charles Chaput’s  address given in Slovakia. Tom connects the importance of life and Christian witness and the environmental to be taken by Catholics. Other commentators have made mention of this, such as Sandro Magister, a Vatican insider. The full address can be seen on Magister’s commentary to this article. Thanks Tom.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver recently gave an address in Slovakia (Aug. 25, 2010) titled Living within the Truth: Religious Liberty and Catholic Mission in the New Order of the World. In it he highlighted that “We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance”. He pointed out the many myths and dangers of our modern secular culture and militant atheism that must be confronted. He issued a challenge for all of us for a “reawakening of the church in our actions and in our public and private witness” He noted that the “foundational injustice in the West today is the crime of abortion” which has become the flashpoint for standing up for the truth. Archbishop Chaput has become a true spokesman for the “culture of life” – all life – and a confronter of the “culture of death”. Last year he addressed a Creatio sponsored conference on “Faith and the Environment”. Parallels can be drawn between defending human life and more generally all of life within Gods’ creation.

Stewardship is an often used term to describe our obligations to care for creation. I would suggest that stewardship of human life starting with life at conception is also a stewardship responsibility. In my work with parishes in both Pro Life and environmental stewardship activities I find that too often such activities represent two distinct groups of committed Catholics with little communication between the two. Those in pro life efforts need to recognize that life in nature is also of value and needs to be defended. Those in environmental efforts need to recognize that stewardship involves human life and the dignity of the human person.

I interpret Archbishop Chaput’s call for all who believe in a culture of life to join together to be a “community of resistance”. While his call in his recent speech is for us to confront a multitude of issues what better time for action than with the upcoming “40 Days of Life” effort that so many parishes are undertaking across the country. Will all “stewards” who support life respond?

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