Illumination in dark times
“In dark times,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “we have a right to demand illumination”. In her lecture to inaugurate a series of annual lectures planned by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice on 24 March, Professor Anna Rowlands, a Catholic theologian from Durham University, presented Catholic Social Thought as a fruitful source of light capable of inspiring hope in spite of all the forces working against it. She emphasised that the Christian vocation entailed loving the world, and she insisted that this should be understood in terms of reflecting on injustice and responding to a call to communion. At the heart of this call is a commitment to human dignity, the common good, care for creation, fairer distribution of wealth and material goods, a need for the dispersal of power, and greater solidarity with all people.
These are core themes in her recent book, Towards a politics of communion: Catholic social teaching in dark times ».
The title of Professor Rowlands’s lecture was ‘Illumination in Dark Times: The Surprising Contemporary Relevance of Catholic Social Teaching’. It was held in the Ignatian Chapel at the JCFJ premises on Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. Professor Rowlands is one of the foremost thinkers today on issues of Catholic Social Thought, particularly as it bears on such themes as forced migration. She has collaborated with the Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK on this subject. She is also an authority on the social philosophies of twentieth-century Jewish and Christian thinkers Hannah Arendt, Gillian Rose and Simone Weil.
The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice intends to hold a public lecture each year to help bring theological reflection into conversation with issues of importance in Irish society.
You can view the full lecture of Professor Anna Rowlands on YouTube » or below.