The Latest Take: Insight into a Changing World
In view of the new encyclical of Pope Francis, Michael Novak revisits the idea of “Blue Environmentalism” in a short series adapted from some 2003 writings.
“The crucial insight, of which Pope Francis reminds us, is that nature is meant for man, not man for nature. Human beings are made by their unique endowment of liberty to be provident over their own destiny. One important way to exercise this providence is to take care not to foul our habitat.”
One of the things I like best about the Catholic intellectual tradition is that, having passed through the storms of so many diverse cultures, it has picked up along the way a very rich vocabulary for discussing even humble matters. For instance, the Latin word (from a Greek root) caritas. What the word gives in the original is the name for the love proper only to God, white-hot and outward-going. It means the very energy that (as Dante put it) “moves the sun and other stars.” The primal energy of the universe. The energy that moves the world forward toward the good of each created thing in it. Especially human persons, the best images of God in all creation.
On Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Catholic University of America conferred on Michael Novak the degree of Doctor of Education honoris causa, in recognition of his long career in education, writing, and scholarship. This was his twenty-seventh such honor.