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 Dr. Peter Baltutis, CWL Chair for Catholic Studies, St. Mary’s University.
Peter began his academic career as a historian, earning a B.A. (honours) and a M.A. in history. His graduate work focused on modern European history, with a focus on nationalism and state formation during the twentieth century. Interested in the role of religion as an agent of social change, he earned a second M.A. in Catholic theology from the University of St. Michael’s College. Combining his overlapping interests in secular history and Catholic theology, Peter earned a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the University of St. Michael’s College. His doctoral dissertation was the first historical and theological examination of Development and Peace, the official international development agency of the Canadian Catholic Church (which is currently being prepared for publication). This research broke new ground by studying the impact of Vatican II on Catholic social teaching in Canada, as well as exploring the little-understood role that religious actors play in the development of the Global South.
At St. Mary’s University, Dr. Baltutis teaches courses in Religious Studies that include: Introduction to Catholicism; the History of Christianity; Vatican II; a Community Service-Learning course in Catholic Social Justice; and a travel study course in Rome, Italy on Christian Spirituality. Peter also serves as the President-General of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association (CCHA) and is the CWL Chair for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University.

He spoke on Care for our Common Home. Pope Francis asks us to pray with him for care for creation (The Pope Video). "Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude." (Pope Francis).

Laudato Si' is based on “The Canticle of Creation” (13th Century Prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpPSZkmr_Js 

Summary of Pope Francis' Laudato Si‘ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj4WSTken3w): ecological crisis is a “summons to profound interior conversion”

  • Christians need an “‘ecological conversion,’ whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (Laudato Si’, 217)
  • “spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable” ( 75)
  • The Earth is sacred = creation has its own intrinsic value
  • We have a responsibility to protect and to cherish the Earth’s ecological diversity, beauty and life-sustaining properties
  • By our work, we are co-creators in the continuing development of the earth
  • We need an authentic development of the earth, which offers a direction for sustainable progress that protects people and the planet

Video = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSnXuCxiHXE

“A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor (49)

“Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.” (91)

“The notion of the common good also extends to future generations. The global economic crises have made painfully obvious the detrimental effects of disregarding our common destiny, which cannot exclude those who come after us. We can no longer speak of sustainable development apart from intergenerational solidarity. Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us”  (Laudato Si’, 159)

Answering Pope Francis’ urgent call in Laudato Si, I pledge to:

  • Pray for and with creation
  • Live more simply
  • Advocate to protect our common home.
Daily examination
Rose: What was the best part of your day?
Petal: what did you learn today?
Thorn: What was difficult for you in this day?

Ecological Examen:

  1. I give thanks to God for creation and for being wonderfully made.

Where did I feel God’s presence in creation today?

  1. I ask for the grace to see creation as God does – in all its splendor and suffering. 

Do I see the beauty of creation and hear the cries of the earth and the poor?

  1. I ask for the grace to look closely to see how my life choices impact creation and the poor and vulnerable.

What challenges or joys do I experience as I recall my care for creation? How can I turn away from a throwaway culture and instead stand in solidarity with creation and the poor?

  1. I ask for the grace of conversion towards ecological justice and reconciliation. 

Where have I fallen short in caring for creation and my brothers and sisters? How do I ask for a conversion of heart?

  1. I ask for the grace to reconcile my relationship with God, creation and humanity, and to stand in solidarity through my actions. 

How can I repair my relationship with creation and make choices consistent with my desire for reconciliation with creation?

  1. I offer a closing prayer for the earth and the vulnerable in our society.

Souce = http://www.ecologicalexamen.org

How to Promote Ecological Justice?

“Global interconnectedness has led to the emergence of a new political power, that of consumers and their associations. This is a phenomenon that needs to be further explored, as it contains positive elements to be encouraged as well as excesses to be avoided. It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral — and not simply economic — act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility, which goes hand-in- hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise. Consumers should be continually educated regarding their daily role, which can be exercised with respect for moral principles without diminishing the intrinsic economic rationality of the act of purchasing.”
-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate # 66


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