In Passing--Thomas Berry

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Today's newspapers carry the obituary of Thomas Berry. No one has been more articulate and evocative about sustainability, even though he rarely used that word. Ordained as a Catholic monk in 1942, Berry left the isolation of the monastery to take up an academic career, teaching at a number of leading Catholic universities. But it is his writing that will be his most important legacy.

In The Dream of the Earth, Berry tells of the power of nature to nurture spirituality in human beings, but also warned against the loss of that same "nature" to the forces of modernity. He envisioned our current stage of existence as merely a momentary event in the evolving universe, a view that criticizes the arrogance that underlies the modern view of mastery over nature. He saw the crisis we now call unsustainability as a crisis of the spirit. I write that it more than this; it is a crisis of the whole human being, incorporating the spiritual as only one of the categories of caring that make being unique to our species.

His voice is certain to continue to ring out as a clarion call to stop destroying the Earth, not only as the organic system from whence we came and provides us life support, but also as our source of spirituality.

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