“And God saw that it was good”: ecotheology and ecclesial environmental work

University essay from Lunds universitet/Humanekologi

Abstract: Theology has, also as result of the critique directed at it, undergone an ecologization that takes shape in ecotheology. It is theology’s attempt to deliver answers to the ecological crisis. These answers are substantively different compared to approaches in other academic fields and could provide the spiritual foundation that is so urgently needed. For ecotheology to move beyond its academic and theoretical character, it needs a Church that implements and lives according to ecotheological ideas. Only the Church can reach a large number of faithful and influence society at large. By conducting a case study of two Roman Catholic dioceses in Germany, this text analyzes how ecotheology is implemented in an ecclesial context. It finds that there is a huge potential for Christian faith to contribute with relevant answers to today’s ecological questions. The investigation shows, however, two major difficulties. Firstly, the Church, that is a vital part of ecotheology, often faces organizational difficulties that prevent stronger progress in the implementation of ecotheological ideas. For abstract ecotheology to become lived reality, it needs to go thru an administrating and practical process that sometimes causes the practical impact to decrease. Secondly, neither the Church nor religion in general are the superior systems in society but rationalized economy and technology. The Church can only act within that framework even though that very framework often prevents a more thorough implementation of ecotheology as there are basic contradictions in the life of Jesus Christ and current economic reasoning.

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