“God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much.”

Pope Francis pronounced this powerful statement on a press conference during a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines on 15th January 2015, before releasing his second encyclical Laudato Si’ on the same year. In this religious letter, the Pontiff directly addresses the destruction of “our common home” by humans themselves and the need for an integral ecology and the protection of the common good.

Responding to Pope Francis’ call, a new MA in Theology, Ecology and Ethics has been jointly established at the new London Jesuit Centre of the University of Roehampton. This postgraduate programme is a clear opportunity for those who are concerned about current environmental challenges and on how religious faith and theology can contribute with interdisciplinary responses to these problems.

© Roehampton University

Although the MA is primarily rooted in the Christian tradition, it does as well take into consideration the contributions of other world faiths and various indigenous belief systems, including First Peoples, Amerindians and Aboriginal.

Classes will take place at the heart of London, enjoying guest lectures from specialist research institutes. In particular, students will be given the possibility to access the Laudato Si’ Research Institute in Oxford, which provides a research platform for projects that are of importance to the agenda set out in Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’.

While engaging with today’s environmental challenges, postgraduates will have the opportunity to explore biblical studies, eco-theology, theological ethics and philosophy. 

Fr Eddy Bermingham SJ, sponsor of the programme, speaks of “a theology-led but interdisciplinary approach, enabling participants to develop critical, analytical and research skills.”

Students will have to undertake a research dissertation and can decide to either focus on a research question based on a theme related to one of the three topics of the programme, theology, ethics or philosophy, or to participate in fieldwork, in the UK or abroad, and submit a dissertation in the form of an analytical and critical report of the chosen fieldwork.

The Jesuits in Britain, co-creators of the programme, are supporting this University postgraduate degree at the University of Roehampton in London and offer a number of scholarships and bursaries of much interest to suitable candidates.

As Pope Francis said, Nature never forgives, and the destruction of our common home is a reality driven by numerous political, economic and social aspects. If you want to be part of the changing force in society, the MA in Theology, Ecology and Ethics offers an outstanding programme that provides students with the tools to face these current environmental challenges while taking into consideration the contributions and responses of religious faith and theology. 

Interested candidates can contact to request further information.  

by Loreto Machés Blazquez 

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