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Columbia River Pastoral. Columbia River Pastoral. “God looked at everything God had made, and found it very good” ~Genesis 1:31.

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Columbia River Pastoral

“God looked at everything God had made, and found it very good”

~Genesis 1:31

“We 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. . . “

~Pope John Paul II, 1990

“The fundamental relation between humanity and nature is one of caring for creation.”

---The Catholic Bishops of the United States

Renewing the Earth, 1991

All of us are in the watershed of the Columbia River

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In both the Old and New Testaments, there are many images of nature and the world about us

“You springs of the Lord, bless the Lord; Seas and rivers bless the Lord; You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord. . . “

~Daniel 3

  • The New Testament: Sea of Galilee and fields provide a rich setting of observing life
  • St. Francis of Assisi – great sensitivity to creation about him
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Deepening appreciation in the Church

  • Pope John Paul II – World Day of Peace Message, 1990 “The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility”
  • US Bishops, 1991 “Renewing the Earth”
  • Pope John Paul II – 1999 World Day of Peace Message on Human Rights - Right to Clean Environment
  • 1996 “And God Saw It Was Good” A Compendium of Catholic Theology and Environment by Walt Grazer and Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J.
  • 2000 – Feast of St. Francis – in New England Pastoral Letter By Bishops of the Region
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1993 US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter - Themes

  • A God-centered and sacramental view of the universe, which grounds human accountability for the fate of each.
  • A consistent respect for human life which extends to respect for all of creation.
  • A world view affirming the ethical significance of global interdependence and the common good.
  • An ethic of solidarity promoting cooperation and a just sharing in the world community.
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An understanding of the universal purpose of created things, which requires equitable use of resources – stewardship.

  • An option for the poor, which gives passion to the quest for an equitable and sustainable world.
  • A conception of authentic development which offers a direction for progress that respects human dignity and the limits of material growth.
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History and Process of the Pastoral Letter

Meeting at Mt. Angel – Opportunity for spiritual, pastoral reflection applying principles of Catholic Social Teaching to the environment.

  • Complexity of the watershed and multiple concerns

Establishment of the Steering Committee

  • Consultation Process — 8 Readings of the Signs of the the Times—Portland, Seattle, Toppenish, Hanford, Hermiston, Umatilla, Castlegar, Spokane
  • Preparation and Implementation
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Pastoral Letter Outline

Introduction – Caring for Creation

  • River of the Moment – Analyze
  • River of Our Memory – Reflect
  • River of Our Vision – Imagine
  • River As Our Responsibility - Act
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River of the Moment – Complexity of Watershed

  • International
  • Flowing Waters and Lakes
  • Surrounding Habitat
  • Native Peoples and Their Culture and History
  • A Water Highway
  • Energy Production
  • Irrigation
  • Recreation
  • Flood Control
  • Competing Interests and Values
  • Concerns:
  • Depletion of Salmon Runs
  • Environmental Degradation: Hanford, Silver Valley
  • Sustainability
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River of Memory

  • Regional and Religious Traditions
  • Native Peoples
  • Dramatic Changes
  • Economic Development
  • Personal History
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River of Our Vision

  • Appreciation of The Gift of Creation
  • Consistent Respect for Human Life
  • International and Global Interdependence Solidarity With One Another
  • Authentic Development – Wise Use of Resources
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River of Our Responsibility –Action for the Future

  • Common Good
  • Conservation of the watershed as a common good
  • Protect species of wildlife
  • Respect dignity and traditions of the region’s indigenous peoples
  • Promote justice for the poor, linking economic justice and environmental justice
  • Promote community resolution of economic and ecological issues
  • Promote social and ecological responsibility
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Conserve energy and investigate alternative energy sources.

  • Respect diversity of cultures.
  • Integrate transportation and recreational needs with sustainable ecosystem requirements through civil dialogue and wise decisions.
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Reflections on the Process

The process may be just as valuable as the end product.

Ecumenical Interest – This effort has struck a vibrant cord in many congregations.

Media attention: both secular and religious documentaries. Umatilla’s video “Beyond Impasse”

Encouragement of civil dialogue – media attention. Meeting in St. Mary Parish, Spokane; and Holy Family Parish Clarkston . Vision calls for respect and listening.

A common spiritual appreciation of our beautiful Northwest.

Vision for the future.