In a first for Messenger Publications, this week’s launch of their new book, Theology and Ecology in Dialogue: The Wisdom of Laudato Si, by acclaimed Irish theologian Father Dermot Lane, took place online.

The ongoing Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings made a physical launch of the book impossible at this time so the book was instead launched by scripture scholar Father Kieran O’Mahony during an online webinar attended by more than 200 participants.

The event, which was hosted by Messenger Publications in conjunction with the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Catechetics Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, took place to coincide with the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’ – on care for our common home.

In his book Father Lane outlines a new theology of the natural world and its relationship to the Eucharist. It discusses the relationship that exists between faith and ecology, creation and cosmology.

Speaking at the launch, Fr Lane said, “Everyone is rightly very concerned about the Covid-19 crisis: so much pain and loss, so much anxiety and uncertainty. Climate change should be at the front and centre in approaching all other crises. Covid-19 is a wake-up call for what awaits humanity if immediate change is not taken to remedy the climate crisis.

In his book Father Lane focuses on the neglected implications of Integral Ecology for faith, spirituality and theology. He says, “Ecology challenges theology to reimagine who we are, who the Spirit of God is, who Christ is, where creation is going, and what is the role of liturgy in society – all in the full glare of the ecological crisis.”

Now is the time to hear the voice of religion in that debate in the public forum with a view to initiating new, transformative practices in society, politics, and religions.”

According to the publishers, the book will be of interest to activists, policymakers, educators, priests, and theologians. For more on the book see www.messenger.ie.

Father Dermot Lane is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin and a former President of the Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, and recently retired from Balally Parish in Dublin.

ENDS