Excerpts from the Ecological Stations of the Cross
Second Station: Jesus Embraces the Cross
(Earth as Suffering Servant—Isaiah)
Mother Earth, you are alive with Christ’s Spirit. You, like Christ, are the suffering servant. You serve all Earth’s creatures so splendidly and graciously, but we often treat you as nothing more than a storehouse of goods. May we awaken to see both your suffering and your generosity. May we only harvest wood from your forests in ways that are sustainable and may we leave your ancient, mystical, old-growth forests to grow in peace.
Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem
(Women and Education, Hunger, Poverty and Sustainable Population Growth)
Christ, you look with compassion on women: the birth-givers, the nurturers, and the comforters. May we commit to sustainable world population growth by bringing women out of poverty; by providing adequate nutrition, health care and education, and by honoring the lives of all women.
Point to Ponder:
Unsustainable population growth is a direct result of poverty, hunger and illiteracy, especially for women. Without food, economic security, and education, no amount of family planning programs will curb high birth rates.
These Ecological Stations of the cross are reportedly from Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, NC. These were sent in from a reader of Fr. Zuhisdorf and I think Fr. Z was right to wonder if someone was putting him on.
Unfortunately these don’t appear to be parody and it looks like the Ecological Stations of the Cross was a project of St. Elizabeth Garden of Learning in Oakland, Calif. This center is part of St Elizabeth’s Church in Oakland. The National Catholic Reporter previously had an article on these "stations of the cross" so these are all too real. Almost as strange is this mosaic above the Church’s altar at St. Elizabeth which is an emerging Peace dove is destroying a U.S. Military 9 mm Beretta pistol.
These stations as "Collaborative Public Sculpture" were sponsored by the Office of Peace, Justice, and Integrity of Creation, of the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara. Pope Benedict previously referred to a statement by Bishop Sorrentino of Assisi about the "abuse" of the figure of St. Francis. This abuse is mostly of seeing St. Francis first and foremost as a radical environmentalist which loses its proper order of his love of creation principally as a fruit of the love of the creator. Much of environmental spirituality is like hanging great paintings in a museum and putting the tag of "anonymous" underneath them. They have made God the anonymous author of creation and if he is mentioned at all it is sort of as a footnote.
As a side note it really saddens me to see terms like "family planning" and "population growth" used in a Stations of the Cross. It is as if they agree that Hell is other people and the number of people as a great evil. They seem to forget the history of environmental scare mongering and how all the dire predictions of the past never happened. It reminds me of "prophets" who make predictions of the end of the world and when it doesn’t pan out set new dates.
Let us love God first and foremost and then our neighbors and be proper stewards of all the gifts that God has given us in creation. It is when this order is reversed or torn asunder that things go wrong.