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Two great tasks of our time

How can Jesuits and their colleagues respond more effectively to the challenges of justice issues all over the world? That was the question explored by an international group of over fifty Jesuits and co-workers from various Jesuit justice organisations  when they met together in Loyola, Spain from 17-20 November. Among them was Irish Jesuit Martin Curry SJ, Programmes Officer of Irish Jesuit Missions.  As well as discussing the demands that social and environmental crises around the world make on those involved in areas of justice the group also explored how they could best cooperate and network together as part of an international organisation.

Those gathered in Loyola at “Networking for Justice” also wanted to include the principal lessons learned over these past few days in a document that can serve as a testimony of what they had shared and to generate motivation among other groups and organizations that want to continue this reflection.

They were convinced that the Society of Jesus has the necessary conditions available to them for greater international collaboration and that collaboration was vital given that humanity despite many improvements in the overall well being of humanity, we still live in a world characterized by exclusion and environmental degradation. Those present were well aware of, and working with; the many human beings living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger; children deprived of education; men and women without health services and communities without drinking water.They noted how the current model  of development around the world involves punishing nature and exploiting the planet in an unsustainable way.  And that for Pope Francis, this dual social and environmental crisis constitutes “one complex crisis which is both social and environmental,”(Laudato Si’ 139),given that “the human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together”(LS 48).

They said they felt the urgency to respond to these challenges, working for the inclusion of the poor and and excluded and protecting the sustainability of nature which was threatened daily.  “Inclusion and sustainability have arisen as the two great tasks of our time”, they concluded in a paper written at the end of the event. This paper was produced they say, “in order to include the principal lessons learned over these past few days in a document that can serve as a testimony of what we have shared this week and to generate motivation among other groups and organizations that want to continue this reflection. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the experience of working together over the years and to continue looking toward new projects, processes and structures  that will help our shared Mission in the future.” You can read the full document here. Some of their main recommendations and proposals include supporting, strengthening and caring for networks that already exist and creating new networks at Province level in the areas of inclusion and sustainability.