earthWe live in a human-centered world. At least we think we do. Whether or not the perception of our species, that the world and the expansive universe to which it belongs revolves around us, is accurate or not (it isn’t), the behavior of our human family in light of this dispositional attitude has resulted in the destructive reality we find ourselves in today. Anthropocentrism is a systemic sin that far-too often goes unacknowledged because the victims of its reality rarely speak in a voice that we can — or wish — to recognize. Our fellow cosmic inhabiters, the non-human creatures of this world, cry out but not in the human verbal expression, the technological text message, or the shift in the stock market that would otherwise grab our attention. Their cries are muffled by the chatter of our own self-interest and occluded by the noise of our exploitative drive.

We have forgotten that God created all of us and did not, contrary to sometimes popular interpretations of scripture that render us sovereigns over the rest of creation, make us human beings free-reigning proprietors, but instead placed us within the garden from which we were molded and into which God’s own breath animated all of us. We are siblings of creation, bearing the elemental “DNA” of the most basic building blocks of life found in organic and inorganic created things alike. We share a deep interrelationship with the rest of the created order, but we have turned a blind eye toward our continued exercise of earthly domestic abuse.

Thomas Berry, in his essay in a recently published book titled, Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, has a very striking paragraph that highlights our collective human forgetfulness when it comes to our relationship to the rest of the created order and what very real havoc that wreaks, especially in North America.

We have lost our connection to this other deeper reality of things. Consequently, we not find ourselves on a devastated continent where nothing is holy, nothing is sacred. We no longer have a world of inherent value, no world of wonder, no untouched, unspoiled, unused world. We have used everything. By “developing” the planet, we have been reducing Earth to a new type of barrenness. Scientists are telling us that we are in the midst of the sixth extinction period in Earth’s history. No such extinction of living forms has occurred since the extinction of the dinosaurs some sixty-five mission years ago.

In destroying other species, in ruining non-sentient elements of creation such as water tables and mountaintops, in harming the air and the environment of those who are poorest among the human family, we are committing fratricide — killing not only our human sisters and brothers, but the kin we call creation; the kin of God’s creating.

What does it take for us to hear the cry of the rest of creation? How can we restore our connection to the deeper reality of things that Berry names?

Photo: Stock


  1. Once again, Father Dan, you present an issue with clarity and deep thought. St. Francis would be pleased that one of his confreres so eloquently argues for the safety and well-being of all God’s creation.

  2. This is wonderful, Fr. Dan. Thank you for presenting it to us. I will share it with all on my mail list. I

    This is a VITAL message that needs to be heard, reallly heard. Time is running out for us in our temporary (on loan) earthly home. Each person can try to do his and her part in stewardship. But we have to realize up front that it is local, national, world-wide action that is needed also. We must try with all of our one-vote influence to tell our legislators that they must immediately cease their in- house fighting, stalling, and ignoring this issue and take appropriatte action immediattely. They have the power to issue sanctions against corporations that refuse to face this issue. We can also boycott companies that refuse to stop polluting the atmosphere and every thing that goes into it — and let them know in writing why we are taking this action.

    I read an excellent article on this subject recently. The author used the word “biocide.” I had not seen the term before.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s