Sacramentum Mundi Online

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(965 words)

1. Notion. By environment we mean the sum of the natural and social factors (the world of things, people, and values) which affect a man (whether he consciously experiences them or is unconsciously influenced by them) and which he in turn affects. By contrast with a man’s “social world”, which is a whole set type of life, environment is described as “a formless sum total of surrounding conditions without any meaningful inner cohesion” (Nell-Breuning). In a pluralistic society the environment assumes increasing importance, not least because of its power to disrupt and confuse.

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Roman Bleistein, “Environment”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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