Under the Sign of Saint Francis: Catholics, Ethics of Responsibility, and Environmental Education

Mario Salomone


Catholics increasingly appear to agree with the most passionate defenders of the environment. The ecological problem for Catholics is essentially moral: it comes down to respecting the value of life and the beauty of the cosmos, practicing meekness, and controlling one’s desire for dominion. This point was stressed a great deal by John Paul II, who urged for an “ecological conversion” and denounced the “anthropological error” of an arbitrary use of the earth. The human responsibility also translates into educational recommendations and concrete practices: given that modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at lifestyle, an education in ecological responsibility becomes essential and entails a genuine conversion in thought and behaviour.

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