Ethical Implications of Applying Aquinas' Notions of the Unity and Diversity of Creation to Human Functioning in Ecosystems
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Duffy, Michael K.
Throughout the many years I struggled with ecological issues in various capacities, I endeavored to explain to other Catholics why I felt so deeply committed to protecting the natural environment and its diverse inhabitants. The springboard to my commitment had been the Catholic Family Movement which was grounded firmly in the pro-life philosophy, and I knew that.human health beginning in the womb is linked intricately with the condition of the environment. How this linkage between the human being and the physical environment could be expressed theologically was more difficult to ascertain. My task was particularly arduous because the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and Catholic theologians had been generally silent on the subject of environmental degradation during the 1960s and 1970s despite the alarm about toxicants that had been raised in the early 1960s by Rachael Carson, the national attention given to the first Earth Day in 1970 which culminated in the establishment of the United states Environmental Protection Agency, and the almost daily media reports of one environmental disaster after another. As I continued to address ecological problems, I probed superficially into several avenues of theological reflection. Articles and texts by Catholic theologians published in the late 1970s and early 1980s suggested some possible directions which could be taken. I became increasingly convinced that a conversion from patterns of thinking and acting that are destructive of the environment to those that are compatible with it's well-being was imperative. I also became convinced that a systematically articulated theological perspective from within the tradition might be most effective in bringing about this conversion...