Pope Benedict, Environmental Stewardship and Request for Help (not money:-)

The Green Pope

The Green Pope

It is hard to believe that it was less than a ago that Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by becoming the first Pope to resign in 600 years. While the mainstream media likes to draw (false) contrasts between Pope Francis (whom I deeply admire) and Pope Benedict, I believe that Pope Benedict has left a lasting intellectual and symbolic legacy in the Church that is not sufficiently recognized by Catholics, much less the mainstream press.  Specifically, Pope Benedict has a significant legacy in three areas:

1.   He was the first Pope in 600 years to voluntary resign. He recognized that the office of the Pope was much greater than the individual holding the office and that he did not have the physical stamina to continue the job. That action speaks of a deep love of Christ and the Church, as well as a deep personal humility.

2.  Pope Benedict completed the rehabilitation of Teilhard de Chardin into mainstream Catholicism. Pope Benedict has been writing positively of Teilhard de Chardin for over 40 years prior to becoming Pope. As Pope he continued to speak favorably of Teilhard’s vision.

3.  Pope Benedict was the first Pope to make environmentalism and a deep spiritual ecology a central component of Catholic theology.  Pope Benedict led the initiative to make Vatican City the first carbon-neutral country.

Vatican Solar Panels

Vatican Solar Panels

In this regard, I am asking for assistance. Our local parish is considering following the Vatican’s lead and installing solar panels on our roof which needs replacing in a few years.  I have “been volunteered” to lead the financing initiative.  The legal structure should be fairly straight-forward. As a non-profit, our parish is not able to take advantage of any federal or state tax incentives for installing solar panels.  However, we could set up a structure whereby the solar panels are owned by private individuals who lease the panels back to the parish.  After the tax credits have been used, the private individuals would sell the panels to the parish for a nominal amount ($1).

My request is this:  Has anyone been involved in a Catholic parish that has set up this specific structure?  I have done it in other contexts but it would be helpful to talk to someone who has experience with the unique issues of a Catholic parish.  Any precedent would be greatly appreciated.  If you have experience, please leave a comment below or contact me at williamockham17@gmail.com

benedict-the-environment

Thank you!
W. Ockham

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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10 Responses to Pope Benedict, Environmental Stewardship and Request for Help (not money:-)

  1. claire46 says:

    You know, William, you may be the only person who brings me to look at Benedict with sympathy. I was walking the Camino in 2005 when I heard that Cardinal Ratzinger had been elected. And I cried. As a feminist Catholic, that’s the only thing I could do. But your putting together these thoughts softens my heart. Thank you.

    • LOL! I cried also. I was in at a transition point in my spiritual life in 2005. I had no spiritual life but I was starting to hear a call. I was looking for a reason to reengage and spirituality and a reason to take another look at the Catholic Church of my youth. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected I cried also because I had this image of him, filtered through the U.S. media, of his hardline doctrinal views as head of CDF; “God’s Rottweiler”. I had given up but over the next few months there was a persistent presence that seemed to be saying “Be Open”.

      When Deus Caritas Est was published I was awed by its intellect and beauty when juxtaposed against the materialism of my life at that time. Shortly thereafter I read “Introduction to Christianity” which was based on a series of lectures that Professor Ratzinger gave in Germany in the 1960s. It was a brilliant view of the Catholic faith (much different than my image of it at the time). That book introduced me to Teilhard de Chardin and his vision and set in motion a whole chain of events that I am still trying to understand :-).

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

  2. ptero9 says:

    Again, I applaud you’re willingness to take a second look at this Pope who was much maligned in the press. I don’t agree with everything he has ever written, but I was deeply touched by the depth of his writing and his emphasis on experiencing God first hand.

    Thanks for keeping the best of his works fresh on your already wonderful blog. Best wishes on financing your parish’s solar panel project!
    xxx
    Debra

  3. Ponder Anew says:

    William, I will be forever grateful to Pope Benedict for, in addition to your points above, his lifting of the restrictions on the Latin Mass, re-establishing continuity with our liturgical heritage. And thank you for posting a picture of the book, I was not aware he had done that. Best wishes on you parish’s project and many blessings to you in 2014!

  4. Tom Kacandes says:

    Hi, William: I am a friend of Fr. Larry Rice and am familiar with integrating solar to church facilities including the financial approach you allude to. It is certainly do-able and sounds like you are on the right track. Feel free to contact me directly at 845-750-2915. Be well! Tom Kacandes

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