Blogs and Articles

Blogs and articles from Britain and around the world written by Columban missionaries and people experiencing Columban mission, covering the broad range of Columban mission themes.

Blogs and Articles by Fr Sean McDonagh


  • forrest 10th November 2011

    Threats to the Amazon

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    I recently spent a week in Iquitos on the Peruvian Amazon attending the Second Franciscan Seminar on the Amazon. The theme of this year´s seminar was “Defending the territory and the waters of the Amazon.” The day before the seminar began, I had the privilege of spending four hours with Jose Alvarez Alonso, who is a researcher at the Institute for Investigation (Research) into the Peruvian Amazon and is based in Iquitos.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 23rd June 2011

    Engineering Life: Ethics and Genetic Engineering

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    In debating the ethics of genetic engineering it is essential to develop an appropriate ethical framework for the discussion. This will demand a major shift away from the almost exclusively human or homocentric focus which has been so pervasive in the Western ethics and wider cultural tradition for almost two thousand years.

  • The Bonn Climate Change Conference 13th June 2011

    The Bonn Climate Change Conference

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    Sean McDonagh reports on the challenges facing the important Bonn Climate Change Conference in the lead-up to the major summit in South Africa later this year.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 14th December 2010

    Catholics at Copenhagen

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    Every since my first meeting of the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC), I have been interested in a “Catholic presence” at these conferences.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 8th December 2010

    Reports from the climate change conference in Mexico

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    In racing terms we have rounded the last bend are on to the home straight. On some courses, I am told, the final furlong or two involves climbing a steep incline, so a lot more will happen here between now and Friday, Dec. 10, when COP 16 ends. In this report I will try and give a flavor of what has taken place here since Nov. 29.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 16th December 2009

    Monsanto Awarded the Angry Mermaid Award as the worst corporate climate lobbyist

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    Monsanto are everywhere, peddling their wares and lobbying for pole position. You expect to find Monsanto at food and agricultural conferences, claiming that its products will feed the world while and at the same time rid the world of pesticides. Their representatives were to the fore at a Conference organized by the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences in Rome in May 2006, pushing the leadership of the Catholic Church into giving its blessing to GM crops, and then using that endorsement to undermine local Bishops‟ Conferences in Asia, Africa and Latin American that might be opposed to GM technology. You expect to find them at the UN Convention of Biodiversity (CDB) rolling out Dr. Peter Raven, President of the Missouri Botanical Garden, to tell everyone that GM crops are great for biodiversity as he did in a seminar organized by the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See at the Aula Maxima of the Gregorian University, a few years ago.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 10th December 2009

    Report on the climate change issue of “Adaptation”

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    Columban Missionary Fr. Sean McDonagh is attending the U. N. Climate Change conference in Copenhagen. He sent NCR this discussion on the issue of “Adaptation,” a term widely used in the climate change debate, defined as the socioeconomic, institutional and cultural ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 9th December 2009

    How Robust is the Science of Climate Change?

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    In the run up to the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, hackers broke into computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Centre and got access to many private emails exchanged between climate scientists who have worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This ignited a global controversy about the reliability of the IPCC’s data and methodology. It forced the chief scientist at the centre of the row, Professor Phil Jones, to step down temporarily as head of the university’s climate research centre, while an independent enquiry into the matter was being conducted.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 1st September 2009

    The well-being of the Earth; an after thought in Catholic Social Teaching

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    In this week‟s column I will continue my critique of Catholic Social Teaching from an ecological perspective. My intention is not to denigrate Catholic teaching but to help us realise that there has been little sensitivity to the Earth and other creatures in Catholic teaching in recent centuries. Unless we truly understand our past, with both its good and bad aspects, we will not be able to experience the “ecological conversion” which Pope John Paul II called for in 2001. The reason is to be found in the quotation from Lord Acton that “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

  • Fr Sean McDonagh 20th February 2009

    Golden Rice

    by Fr Sean McDonagh

    How could anyone oppose crop that promises to deliver untold benefits to poor people? This the cri de coer (cry from heart) will be voiced by Dr. Igno Potrykus during the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Study-Week on Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development (151-19 May).