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Plenary Presenters

Ursula Goodenough

Presentation: Wednesday September 28, 7:00pm

Professor, Department of Biology 
Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

Presentation title: "The Evolutionary Dimensions of Laudato Si'"

In Laudato Si' Pope Francis speaks eloquently of our interrelationships with the earth and with other creatures, "joined in a splendid universal communion." This interconnectedness is found both in the dynamics of present-day ecosystems and also in deep-time evolutionary history, a history that has been stunningly expanded by analyzing the genome sequences of organisms from numerous radiations. The emergent picture of our common ancestry with all beings greatly enriches the concept of universal communion, and deepens our capacity to take nature to heart.

Daniel P. Scheid          

Presentation: Thursday, September 29, 12:45pm

Associate Professor, Department of Theology 
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.

Presentation title: "The Moral Vision of Laudato Si': The Cosmic Common Good as a Common Ground for Interreligious Ecological Ethics"

In Laudato Si', Pope Francis develops a compelling moral vision grounded in the universal communion of creatures and the interconnectedness of humanity with the rest of the cosmos. In addition, he appeals to all religious traditions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting our common home, the Earth. This presentation proposes the cosmic common good, drawn from the Catholic tradition, as a potentially unifying category for stimulating interreligious ecological ethics. By placing the moral vision of Laudato Si' in dialogue with Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and indigenous traditions, we can discover further justifications for Pope Francis' call to all humanity to protect our imperiled Earth.

Celia Deane-Drummond       

Presentation: Thursday September 29, 4:00pm

Professor of Theology, Director of the Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing,
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN.

Presentation title: "The Theological
Anthropology of Laudato Si: Tracing the Interplay of Theology, Science and Ecology."

This presentation focuses on the theological tapestry of Laudato Si as it bears on a renewed  understanding of humanity and our particular responsibilities for the protection of creation. The concept of ecological conversion incorporates scientific understandings of ecology in order to show more clearly the present context of suffering and devastation of both the poor and the planet. This is a manifesto of liberation that concentrates on the inner personal changes and the development of virtues that are needed to undertake a deep cultural revolution. But it is also one that recognizes that an authentic humanity is marked by interconnectedness with God, each other and the created world.