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Ecological sin and the Sacrament of Penance

Foto Carbajo N˙˝ez MartÝn , Ecological sin and the Sacrament of Penance, in Verdad y Vida, 273/76 (2018) p. 241-253 .

Abstract: “To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.” Therefore, Pope Francis invites everyone to implore God’s mercy, through the sacrament of Reconciliation, “for those sins against creation that we have not hitherto acknowledged and confessed.” Taking into account the Papal teachings, this article emphasizes the need to make more evident the ecological dimension in the sacrament of Penance.
Keywords: Ecology, Sin, Sacrament, Reconciliation, Justice
Sumario: La explotación egoísta de la tierra es un pecado, pues “un crimen contra la naturaleza es un crimen contra nosotros mismos y un pecado contra Dios.” Por lo tanto, el Papa Francisco invita a abrazar la conversión ecológica y a implorar “la misericordia de Dios por los pecados cometidos contra la creación, que hasta ahora no hemos sabido reconocer ni confesar.” Teniendo en cuenta las enseñanzas papales, este artículo subraya la necesidad de hacer más evidente la dimensión ecológica en el sacramento de la Penitencia
Palabras clave: Ecología, Pecado, Sacramento, Reconciliación, Justicia.

Sommario: L’enciclica Laudato Si’ ha introdotto il concetto di peccato ecologico, fino a quel momento poco usato nella teologia cattolica“. Afferma che un crimine contro la natura è un crimine contro noi stessi e un peccato contro Dio” (8). Pertanto, il Papa Francesco invita tutti alla conversione ecologica  e a implorare la misericordia di Dio per quei peccati contro il creato “che finora non abbiamo saputo riconoscere e confessare”. The first part of this article studies the sacramental dimension of the physical world and the presence, in the liturgy of the sacraments, of signs and symbols taken from nature. This is lacking in the current Rite of the sacrament of reconciliation. The second part asserts that the acts of the penitent should reflect our personal and community responsibility with regard to the whole of creation. The third part underlines that the Rite of the sacrament should give more relevance to the joyful celebration of pardon and reconciliation graciously received from God.


1.1. “Remember that you are dust and dust you will return”
1.2. The liturgy shows the sacramental dimension of the physical world
1.3. The sacrament of reconciliation and the relationship with the earth

2.1. Examination of conscience about ecological sins
2.2. Contrition and conversion of the heart
2.3. Confession
2.4. Satisfaction

3.1. Restitution and ecological justice
3.2. Ecological reconciliation
3.3. Celebration of the restored fraternity

Key words: ecology, Laudato Si', Reconciliation, sin

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