Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates


Living Will Forums

Do you have questions about Advance Directives or Living Wills?  Concerns about end-of-life care and Catholic teaching? Confused about designating a Health Care Surrogate?  These and other questions will be answered at an upcoming living will forum by a panel consisting of a Catholic physician, attorney and clergy. Please see below for the dates and times for upcoming forums around the diocese: February 26, Holy Family Catholic Church (5125 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando) 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

Pope John Paul II to be Beatified

In honor of the announcement of his beatification, we are reminded that His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, was instrumental in renewing the Church’s ancient teachings in light of modern environmental degradation.  Here is just a sampling of what he had to say about the environment from his landmark World Day of Peace Message: Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation:

[W]e cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations.

[T]he ecological crisis is a moral issue.

When man turns his back on the Creator’s plan, he provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order. If man is not at peace with God, then earth itself cannot be at peace: “Therefore the land mourns and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and even the fish of the sea are taken away” (Hos 4:3).  The profound sense that the earth is “suffering” is also shared by those who do not profess our faith in God. Indeed, the increasing devastation of the world of nature is apparent to all. It results from the behavior of people who show a callous disregard for the hidden, yet perceivable requirements of the order and harmony which govern nature itself. Read the message here

Read more from Pope John Paul II, Conservationist (featuring more than 100 beautiful statements!). 

Florida Catholic Bishops Unveil Legislative Agenda

More and more state Catholic conferences (organizations that advocate on behalf of the bishops to the state’s government) are including environmental concerns as part of their ongoing legislative agenda.  This week, the Bishops of Florida issued a statement through their Conference advocating legislation that connects solidarity with the poor and care for God’s Creation: 

“The Conference supports legislation which relieves the burden of the poor, aged, children in need, and disabled; contributes to the reform of the criminal justice system; assures the rights of parents in the education of their children, protects the environment for future generations and addresses the needs of farmworkers and immigrant families.” Read more here

Duke Energy Partners with Chatfield College to Teach Sustainability

Chatfield College, a Catholic college in Cincinnati, Ohio, will offer a free course for students and community members in environmental sustainability with funding provided by the Duke Energy Foundation Community Sustainability Grant Program. The course will allow students to learn about environmental issues and solutions, how to apply and develop this information in everyday living, and prepare for professions in the field of sustainability.  Duke Energy offers grants for those participants that are going to help the community to understand and to be energy efficient.  “By offering this course for free, thanks to the Duke Energy Foundation, we are opening doors to an environmental education that some students and community members may have never had the opportunity to receive,” said Chatfield academic dean, Dr. Roger Courts.  Read more here.  

Students make Sustainability PSAs for the Library at University of Scranton

Jesuit-run University of Scranton has introduced videos about sustainability.  The videos, created by Professor Mary Beth Holmes’s TV Production classes, are short public service announcements that help raise awareness about sustainability. University of Scranton students filmed all videos in the Weinberg Memorial Library, which is dedicated to sustainability and being as environmentally conscious as possible. The Library Green Team had been looking for new and creative ways to educate students on the importance of conserving paper, recycling properly, and purchasing a travel mug and water bottle instead of buying disposable cups and plastic.  Read more about it here

Giant South Carolina Landfill Opposed by Pastors

Fr. Jeffrey Kendell, a Catholic priest, has been joined by a Protestant church and other residents of Colleton County, SC, to oppose plans by South Carolina Electric & Gas for a landfill of coal ash in their community.   Coal ash disposal poses serious risks as evidenced by such disastrous spills as the one in Tennessee in 2008, and the release of arsenic into groundwater from such ponds operated by SCE&G in Lower Richland, SC.   Long-term exposure to arsenic has been linked to liver cancer. Clergymen Jeffrey Kendall and Jeffery Hunter said the landfill is a bad idea, and worry about the threat to wildlife and to people’s drinking water in an area where virtually everyone depends on wells.  Fr. Kendell said that “God didn’t create the earth for people to pollute.”  Read more here.  

Sacred Heart to Inaugurate Master’s Degree in Environmental Systems and Management

Responding to the explosive need for professionals in the environmental field, Sacred Heart University has expanded its scientific curriculum to include a new interdisciplinary graduate degree. The Master of Science in Environmental Systems Analysis and Management (ESAM) will launch in September 2011. It is grounded in the physical sciences, and will introduce students to the complex interactions between the living and non-living portions of the environment, and the dramatic role that human activity has on the future of our natural resources.   Read more here

Toronto Catholic High Schools Work to Eliminate Bottled Water

Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Toronto are working to create “bottled water-free zones” within their schools.  The “Water for All: Let Justice Flow” movement is part of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s yearlong campaign against the privatization of water.  “The idea is to create a culture where students don’t bring bottled water or use bottled water even though they may have the right,” said Luke Stocking, who works with Development and Peace in central Ontario.  Read more here.