Green Thomism – The Beauty of Creation Series

Time Stamps:

  • 0:10 Opening prayer and Introductions
  • 4:50 Background of interest in Environmental themes
  • 16:25 Green Thomism & Integral Ecology
  • 22:05 Christ as the Logos that gives meaning to life & death, ecological themes
  • 26:05 Attitudes toward Nature – from dread to splendour and awe
  • 28:35 Respect of the Created order as distinctive of Christianity
  • 29:35 Awe in Creation as universal
  • 32:40 Evil in the Natural World – distinguishing Physical v Moral evil
  • 35:35 Lower and Higher Creation
  • 40:45 Discerning the Natural Law & Encountering Beauty
  • 45:50 Bringing the Heart in line with the Intellect
  • 49:30 Different conceptions of what ‘Nature’ is
  • 56:45 Contemporary circumstances and cultivating encounter with the beauty of nature
  • 58:35 Contemplation, Prayer and Worship of Goodness and Beauty as means
  • 1:00:05 The role of the Eucharist and the Cross in Integral ecology
  • 1:04:45 Atheist, Marxist, Materialist, and Indigenous understandings of Creation and the Environment
  • 1:10:05 The unity of Integral Ecology (Ecology and Environment) and Integral Human ecology (Rightly ordered sexuality, Pro-life)
  • 1:13:05 Practical ways to be more sustainable
  • 1:19:50 Questions – Christian theology and a history of ‘Domination of nature’
  • 1:21:55 Questions – Liturgical calendar and Food production
  • 1:23:50 Further resources & Closing remarks

Professor Christopher Thompson—professor of moral theology at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity—joined us to explore his idea of Green Thomism, which “seeks to integrate the wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas with the questions of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and awareness… [and] interprets the signs of the times to indicate the need for a renewal of some of the most basic principles of Thomistic thought: the goodness of created things, the purposive structure of created being, the inescapable embodied character of human existence, the capacity of reason to discern an order of creation which is to be respected, the contemplative nature of human happiness… All of these claims are rooted in St. Thomas’ vision of creation, the human person, and God; each of them has the capacity to enliven the best of what is happening in the ever-growing movement of environmental concern.”

We discussed:

  • Bringing our Church’s philosophical and theological tradition into environmental thinking;
  • The critical role of contact with nature in our spiritual lives;
  • Confidence in the natural world; and,
  • Building a relationship with the natural world informed by the immense wisdom of the Catholic faith, and how such a relationship differs from a technocratic or transhumanist vision.


Christopher Thompson is a professor of moral theology at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity where he also serves as the Academic Dean since 2006. He has written and lectured extensively on the subject of integral ecology, its place in the moral imagination and its implications for a theological appropriation of creation and the dignity of the human person. He also serves as a team mentor and formator on behalf of Catholic Rural Life, a national organization dedicated to the formation of rural pastoral leaders through professional and spiritual development. His book, The Joyful Mystery: Field Notes Toward a Green Thomism, (2017) outlines what he describes as a Green Thomism, the integration of ecological attitudes and the spiritual tradition inspired by the medieval saint, Thomas Aquinas. He has written and lectured extensively on such themes in the United States and around the world. He is one of the principal drafters of The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader, an international collaboration including global agricultural communities and the Vatican.


Geoffrey Woollard is a graduate student at the University of British Columbia where he applies physics and computer science perspectives to structural biology questions. He is a member of the Society of Catholic Scientists. His interdisciplinary writings on faith-science dialogue have been featured in the Torch, Scientia et Fides, and the online Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science. (


Joyful Mystery: field notes toward a Green Thomism by Christopher Thompson

Catholic Rural life (website)

The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader


Contemporary civilization is characterized by a technological paradigm, in which our increasing control over nature challenges our interpretations of the essence of what is natural, what is good, and what is properly human. This has major implications for civic life, in areas such as bioethics, medicine and the dignity of the human person, the state of the environment, and our relationship with the rest of creation. In this speaker series, we engage with leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians whose work is nourished by a Catholic Christian understanding of the world. By listening to and dialoguing with them, and going deeper into the body of work they are engaging, we can wisely engage and critique the technocratic paradigm and the transhumanist attitude. Through their work, as well as an engagement with Catholic Social teaching and the latest work in the Magisterium of the Church, we come to a greater appreciation of the integrity and beauty of creation that is a hallmark of Catholicism.

  • Series overview available HERE
  • Human Uniqueness with Professor Christopher Baglow available HERE
  • Ecological Conversion with Sister Damien Marie Savino available HERE.
  • REGISTER HERE for the next session on Identity called ‘Bearing the Image of God’ with Professor Sonsoles de Lacalle


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