Panel to examine pope’s encyclical on the environment at Benedictine

September 18, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ A series of presentations examining Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment and its moral implications for ecological, theological and political transformation in the fight against climate change will be held from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, in the Presentation Room of the Krasa Student Center at Benedictine University.

The event, titled “Everything is Connected: Perspectives on Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’,” is free and open to the public.

Presentations include:

• “Perspectives on Teaching Environmental Science Using the Papal Encyclical” by Monica Tischler, Ph.D., professor of Biological Sciences.

• “Pope Francis on the Environmental Crisis: Its Nature, Causes and Remedies” by Martin Tracey, Ph.D., professor of Philosophy.

• “Who is He to Judge? Weighing Papal Influence on U.S. Policymaking” by Phil Hardy, Ph.D., assistant professor of Political Science.

• “Everyone is Connected: Pope Francis’s Inclusive Encyclical” by Christine Fletcher, Ph.D., associate professor of Theology.

Prior to the event, a gathering of University students, staff and faculty including Abbot Austin Murphy, O.S.B., and President Michael Brophy, Ph.D., plan to read the entire encyclical aloud in front of the main entrance to Goodwin Hall from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

In the encyclical released in June, Pope Francis describes climate change as a global problem with grave implications which requires an urgent need for a bold cultural revolution. He says the problem of consumption and waste has reached “unprecedented levels,” and has been made worse by rich countries and their exploitation of poorer nations where “the most important reserves of the biosphere are found.”

The pope urges not just Catholics, but “every living person on this planet” to stand up for the poor and future generations who will be most affected by environmental degradation. The pope is expected to take this message to Washington before a joint session of Congress on September 24 and draw many faith-based organizations to rally for action on climate change at the National Mall.

One of Benedictine University’s values is a dedication to responsible stewardship of all things and the Earth. As such, the University has taken steps to impart this value to its students and the greater community in several ways, such as eliminating pesticide use on campus lawns, using more environmentally-friendly cleaning products, launching a composting program that diverts 105,000 pounds of food waste per year from area landfills, and using a new cooking process that turns used oil into biodiesel fuel through a recycling service.

The new Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business, set to open on October 17, was constructed with many green and renewable building techniques and features, such as recycled construction materials, low-flow water fixtures, high-performance insulation, and a chilled beam cooling and heating system.

The presentations on the pope’s encyclical are examples of Benedictine’s commitment to sustainability outreach and its efforts to actively encourage the greater community to participate in an ongoing dialogue about the role all of us must play in preserving Earth’s vital resources.

The event is sponsored by the University’s Center for Mission and Identity, which provides programming that supports the University’s Catholic identity and Benedictine heritage while nurturing a culture of religious and cultural dialogue within the entire University community.

For more information, contact Jean-Marie Kauth at jkauth@ben.edu.

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors and 16 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 2 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2015.

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