Laudato si’ in Australia: a conversion story
By Giada Aquilino
November 17, 2020
Care for our common home is at the center of Knox Peden’s conversion. Originally from the United States, Professor Peden moved to Australia about ten years ago. Having grown up Presbyterian, he experienced a period of personal and professional reflection which led him to embrace Catholicism in July 2019. He is a historian and a philosopher, and a Laudato si’ Animator in the Global Catholic Climate Movement, organizing conversations with fellow parishioners in Canberra on the message contained in Pope Francis’s Encyclical, as well as prayer walks in nature.
The path of conversion to Catholicism that primarily included care for our common home was the path taken by Knox Peden, a Texan from Dallas who had moved to Australia in 2011. Thanks to Pope Francis’s teaching in the Encyclical Laudato si’, he put his relationship with creation at the center of his own human and professional life. “I took to heart the call to ecological conversion,” he explains to Vatican News. “It’s also built on the idea of integral ecology which builds on other forms of Catholic teaching about, you know, the integral nature of our community, and our family and our society.” The Pope, he says, “encourages us to expand these ideas of relationship and communion to all of creation and realise that our life is based in relationships, it is essentially comprised of relationships and that we have a responsibility to maintain those relationships.” Among these relationships, Peden believes that, “the most important is our relationship to creation, to our common home on this planet.”