Over three and a half days, the 100 leaders of religious orders from across Australia will be considering the integral importance that a commitment to ecology and sustainability place upon followers of Jesus.
They will be sharing the work congregations are doing in this area and investigating and planning the future role of religious in taking concrete action for ecological sustainability.
Keynote speaker at the assembly is Father Denis Edwards, a priest of the Adelaide Archdiocese and senior lecturer in Systematic Theology at Flinders University. Father Edwards is a prolific writer on topics relating to theology, science and ecology and has recently published a new book entitled How God Acts – Creation, Redemption and Special Divine Action.
Sister Veronica Lawson RSM will lead delegates in a biblical perspective on ecology and the following of Jesus, and Tasmanian Greens Senator Christine Milne will speak on the topic of ‘Values is the basis for ecological action’.
Sister Clare Condon SGS, President of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), the peak body for all Religious in Australia, said there was often the comment that the Church had come ever so lately to an awareness of, and a response to, the ecological crisis in which our global community now finds itself.
“Yet the value and importance of the created order is well established in the Christian tradition, and ecological awareness and sustainability are deeply entwined within our biblical faith.”
Sister Condon said ecological awareness and work were spiritual and theological issues, as well as political and practical.
“As Religious, at this time in our history, it is our role to assume a responsibility for bringing the spirituality and theology of the Christian message to the call for ecological integrity and peace in our world.”
During the conference, leaders will also spend time discussing a recent survey of Religious Life in Australia undertaken on behalf of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) by the Pastoral Planning Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The last formal survey of Religious in Australia was completed in 1976. At the assembly, Father Frank Moloney SBD will lead the delegates in a theological reflection of the survey, and a panel including Sister Anne Derwin RSJ, Father Steve Curtin SJ, Sister Patty Fawkner SGS and Father Tim Norton SVD will lead discussion on the future of religious life.
Catholic Religious Australia’s National Assembly will be held at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart from Tuesday 29 June to lunchtime Friday 2 July.