39 Cath. Law. 353 (1999-2000)
Catholic Tradition, and the New Catholic Theology and Social Teaching on the Environment

handle is hein.journals/cathl39 and id is 361 raw text is: CATHOLIC TRADITION, AND THE NEW
CATHOLIC THEOLOGY AND SOCIAL
TEACHING ON THE ENVIRONMENT
ROBERT W. LANNAN*
The world that God created has been entrusted to us, yet our use
of it must be directed by God's plan for creation, not simply by
our own benefit. Our stewardship of the earth is a kind of
participation in God's act of creating and sustaining the world.
U.S. Catholic Conference, Faithful Citizenship: Civic
Responsibility for a New Millennium, issued October
19, 1999.
I. INTRODUCTION
As humanity has become more aware of the conditions that
threaten the world's environment, and as communities have
begun crafting solutions to environmental problems, a nascent
body of Catholic theology and social teaching has emerged to
address environmental concerns. This theology and teaching can
only be understood in light of long-standing Catholic traditions
concerning creation, redemption, and the role of humanity in
these processes. These traditions show that the resources of our
natural environment are important in their own right to the
processes of creation and redemption of the universe. Catholic
tradition also shows that humanity has a unique set of
responsibilities. It is essential, for example, that we respect
creation and exercise stewardship over it. Under the Church's
new environmental theology and teaching, such reverence and
stewardship require that human communities embrace, first, a
A.B., Georgetown University; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center;
LL.M., Environmental Law, The George Washington University. Robert W. Lannan
practices environmental law at McDermott, Will & Emery, in Chicago, Illinois. He
previously practiced environmental law for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mr.
Lannan would like to thank Rev. Thomas M. King, S.J. and Rev. Ladislas M. Orsy,
S.J. for their assistance with this article.

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