The Garden issue of Second Spring contains lead articles by Cardinal Angelo Scola (the new Archbishop of Milan, formerly Venice), Mary Taylor (Pax in Terra), and Christopher Blum (Thomas More College). There are also articles on gardening by Vigen Guroian, Jane Mossendew and others. Peter Milward SJ contributes a piece from Japan. Mark Elvins OFM Cap. writes from a Franciscan perspective, and Aidan Hart from the Orthodox Church on the way Icons "transfigure matter". Together with poetry, book reviews, reports, and lots of beautiful illustrations, this is in many ways our best issue yet.
(Several articles on the same theme can be found online in our main articles section at www.secondspring.co.uk, including Keith Lemna on Human Ecology, Environmental Ecology, and Ressourcement Theology. There is also a longer version of the important Second Spring article "Healing the Rift" by Mary Taylor available online. And readers might be interested to read a fascinating study of the universal symbolism of gardens by Mihnea Capruta, from Eye of the Heart issue 4. Some beautiful pictures of Japanese gardens and a discussion of that aesthetic may be found at David Clayton's Way of Beauty site.)
Our issue is quite timely, given the high-profile speech the Pope recently gave to the Bundestag in Berlin, where he emphasized the intrinsic relationship between respect for human life and respect for nature. Pope Benedict said that "the emergence of the ecological movement in German politics since the 1970s... was and continues to be a cry for fresh air which must not be ignored or pushed aside, just because too much of it is seen to be irrational. Young people had come to realize that something is wrong in our relationship with nature, that matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and that we must follow its directives." "If something is wrong in our relationship with reality," he added, "then we must all reflect seriously on the whole situation and we are all prompted to question the very foundations of our culture." He went on:
The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a further point that is still largely disregarded, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he listens to his nature, respects it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled.