Pope Francis’ Laudato Si is making impact not only on ecology, but on the seminary curriculum as well.
The report on “Catholic Ecology Courses in Catholic Seminaries”, conducted by Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development in Jerusalem (ICDF) reveals the range of their efforts to incorporate environmental issues into seminary coursework.
Rabbi Neril who is founder and director of the ICSD just completed a groundbreaking new survey of 48 Catholic seminaries in North America, Rome and the Holy Land aimed at discovering the extent to which these institutions are taking seriously Francis’ warning and plea.
Sixteen classes devoted specifically to Catholic ecology teachings are offered at seven of the institutions, and many other institutions integrate environmental issues into courses on different topics.
Seven Catholic seminaries offer courses on faith and ecology. The Pontifical universities in Rome that have introduced such courses include the Gregorian University, St. Anselmo and the Salesian Pontifical University.
Pope Francis has specifically urged Catholic institutions to incorporate this subject into the curriculum. Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si” specifically called on Catholic seminaries to teach about ecology, saying: “It is my hope that our seminaries and houses of formation will provide an education in responsible simplicity of life, in grateful contemplation of God’s world, and in concern for the needs of the poor and the protection of the environment” (Paragraph 214).
ICSD has also published two related studies of seminary education in faith and ecology, one of which is a study of how different religions in Israel and Palestine have begun to approach this vital area.
Seminary professors across the globe has creatively designed courses on theological topics which intersects the field of ecology. Some of the courses can be viewed here.
In India Catholic seminaries are yet to have a systematic course on eco-theology, though occasionally extension lectures are given on eco topics.
With inputs from La Stampa and ICSD