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Bringing about change through human development, religion, and the community’s hope

30 June 2017
Laudato Si’ is the core of many discussions during the 2017 World Church and Mission annual conference in Würzburg, Germany, and how care for our common home is integrated in development policies so that better policies lead to better projects. Photo credit: P Walpole

Pedro Walpole, SJ People living at the margins of the world share a hope that sustains their communities despite the complexities of today’s world, which generally exclude them and many others who are economically poor.  This hope is a powerful motivating force that often comes from a shared faith and enables marginalized communities to take action.  Development assistance that traditionally uses a secular approach is increasingly including faith-based organizations (FBOs) and religious actors in broader collaboration for change. During the World Church and Mission 2017 annual meeting on “Religion and Development” in Würzburg, Germany last month, the discussions spoke a great deal about compassion and commitment of people who work at the edge and how the work can be very rewarding in terms of experiencing human development.  In many of these situations, those who first respond to the need come from a religious institute or faith organization.  At times, it is a community hope borne out of a shared faith that strengthens and enables the changes sought.     From an environmental standpoint, Dr Azza Karam, senior advisor on culture and social development to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting how the need to reimagine
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Australian Jesuits divest from fossil fuels, support Flights for Forests for World Environment Day 2017

31 May 2017

Brian F McCoy, SJ I have in the Province Office a few dot paintings.  One of them is by an Aboriginal artist who was instrumental in bringing the Walmajarri people back to their ancestral land I 1979, after a cattle station was established on it in the early twentieth century. His painting is a map, but reveals more than a map.  It describes the contours of the land, creek and waterholes.  It also notes the ancient sites of significance and the places of spiritual meaning and story.  I never saw or appreciated any of those deeper levels of meaning when I first visited in 1974.  Over time, through friendships and in participation in ceremonies, I came to see and value much more what it means to walk upon this land. It has been clear for some years that human beings will need to reconsider our relationship with the land if we are to preserve our world for future generations.  The more we learn about the interconnectedness of life, the more we see how our decisions and actions can have far-reaching impacts, particularly on vulnerable communities in the poorest parts of the globe. “Poverty, social exclusion and marginalisation are linked with
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Crédit photo:

2017 World Day of Prayer for Creation: A joint message from the Vatican and from the Phanar

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued this brief joint statement on ecology for the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, challenging “all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment” so as “to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate...

In a video, His Holiness Pope Francis speaks at TED2017 - The Future You, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Pope Francis on looking at the future through a “you”

Good evening – or, good morning, I am not sure what time it is there.  Regardless of the hour, I am thrilled to be participating in your conference.  I very much like its title – “The Future You” – because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at...

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