04 November 2021, The Tablet

Faith and science - the great conversation


Faith and science - the great conversation

Theodora Hawksley


We are on the brink of a remarkable moment, when religious faith and climate science are in greater harmony and also creatively enriching each other

I had spent two days discussing Laudato Si’, theology and ecology with a group of diocesan clergy. We had watched films, discussed texts, shared experiences, and had moved on to a final ­session of ­comments and conversation when one of the priests took the microphone and said something like: “Thank you for sharing all this, it is important, and the facts are alarming. I’m not sure what can be done about it, though … We just have to be grateful that Christ is going to come again and sort it all out.”

He wasn’t meaning to dismiss the warnings of scientists and the cries for help from those at the sharp end of climate change that we had all been listening to over the previous two days, but his comment reminded me that some religious people still believe the dire threat of impending climate catastrophe might somehow be eclipsed by a different, theological account of the end of the world.

It has yet to sink in that COP26 is not just an opportunity to galvanise the Church practically, or a pedagogical opportunity to impress upon the faithful the importance of care for Creation. It is also – and perhaps most import­antly – an opportunity to grow theologically, and continue the journey begun by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’.

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