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“The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations..."

—Pope Benedict XVI


With the release of Laudato Si, Pope Francis drew new attention to the Church's concern for the environment. In fact, the pope is continuing a tradition; the modern Church has long recognized the relationship between humankind and the environment. In 1990, Pope John Paul II issued his landmark World Day of Peace Message: Ecological Responsibility and in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI issued his encyclical Caritas in Veritate. 

For its part, Catholic higher education has asserted its commitment to care for creation for many years. Ex corde Ecclesiae, the seminal document on Catholic universities issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990, notes in part: “As a natural expression of the Catholic Identity of the University, the university community should give a practical demonstration of its faith in its daily activities.” 

Reflecting on this responsibility, ACCU President Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., noted, “Catholic colleges and universities heed this call to demonstrate their faith in numerous ways, for instance, by taking real action to affirm their commitment to Catholic mission-based sustainability.”

Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration


This ACCU publication provides practical inspiration for following  The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.