Ilia Delio, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, D.C., is the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University. She is the author of 16 books, including Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology and Consciousness (Orbis Books 2015), and the general editor of the series Catholicity in an Evolving Universe.
Religious life was never meant to be a bounded, closed system or a tribe, but a life lived on a new level of consciousness of belonging to the whole earth, in love with the whole Body of Christ.
The Gospel life was never meant to be lived enclosed, but on the edge of a new future in God. Francis of Assisi was a materialist in the best sense of the word, realizing that divine love incarnated all reality.
We are living in the midst of several major crises, including the environment and the institutional church. Does academic theology play a role? Well, yes. As co-creators, we can begin to better integrate theology and science.
What does a "religious solution" to the environmental problem look like in a church that seems to be riddled with dysfunction? But the crisis does not belong to the clergy alone; we also have a crisis of academic theology.