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Melbourne professor to present case for Laudato Si at upcoming lecture


A lecture to be held next month at the Redemptorist Monastery in North Perth will explore Catholic teachings on the environment with special reference to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si – with the help of Melbourne-based Professor Anthony Kelly. Photo: Supplied.

By Caroline Smith

A lecture to be held next month at the Redemptorist Monastery in North Perth will explore Catholic teachings on the environment with special reference to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si – with the help of Melbourne-based Professor Anthony Kelly.

Professor Kelly, who lectures in theology at the Australian Catholic University has written a number of books on faith and the environment, including the 2016 text, An Integral Ecology and the Catholic Vision, which will form the basis of his presentation.

The talk will be hosted by the Centre for Faith Enrichment (CFE) and the Justice Ecology and Development Office (JEDO).

Speaking to The eRecord ahead of the lecture on 18 July, Professor Kelly said he had been pleased to see ecological issues and the responsibility of Catholic faithful towards the environment addressed in Laudato Si.

“I was delighted to hear about the encyclical when it first came out, especially since I’d been writing on the topic of the environment for over 20 years,” he said.

“An ecological conversion will be a huge chapter in our Catholic Church.”

He added that although Church teaching in this area was relatively recent, responsibility towards the natural environment made sense according to Gospel teachings.

“Traditionally in the Catholic Church, we’ve been very good on issues like Incarnation and Eucharist but just as we can say ‘the word was made flesh’ through Jesus, we can also say that Jesus was an earthling like us, and the earth itself is holy in some way,” Professor Kelly said.

“So Christian thinking about the environment is not just a modish way to look at things, it’s simply appreciating in depth what the Incarnation was all about.”

While the practical implications of issues such as ‘care for our common home’ must be discussed, Professor Kelly said his main focus would be on the links between Christian faith and the environment.

“After all faith, hope and charity, in a world of dwindling resources remain an ever renewable resource,” he said.

“With different conversions going on, people are not only learning to love their neighbour but to love their neighbourhood as well. Besides, it’s all very well to talk about Eucharist and the bread and wine but there would be no bread and wine if the ecological system was not in good shape.”

CFE Director Marco Ceccarelli said Professor Kelly would be an excellent speaker to continue discussion on this topic to the Archdiocese of Perth.

“Professor Kelly was initially invited by the Anglican community to give a session on Australian Spirituality in the month of July. Given that he is a renowned theologian and scholar in Australia, we thought to contact him and ask him to extend his trip to give a talk for The Centre for Faith Enrichment,” he said.

“We knew that, aside from Australian Spirituality, his area of expertise was Christian faith and ecology. In fact, his last two books have been in this area: Integral Ecology and the Catholic Vision and Integral Ecology and Life to the Full – the latter is due out later this year.

“Since CFE would like to give Laudato Si and its rich content as much attention as possible in these years following its publication, we are very much looking forward to having Professor Kelly share his wisdom on some of its primary themes.”

Professor Anthony Kelly will speak at The Redemptorist Monastery in North Perth on 18 July 2017 from 9:30am – 12:30pm (morning tea included).

For more information and to register, please Click Here.