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The Challenge for Jesuits in the Asia Pacific

15 August 2010

If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation. Pope Benedict XVI, World Day of Peace, 1 January 2010

Reconciliation with Creation is a central theme of the Jesuit mission since the 35th General Congregation, but how can we make this happen?

Even though Pope Benedict makes constant and urgent reference to the state of our environment and GC35 calls our attention to it, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific or JCAP faces a challenge. Few people know where to begin or how to take practical steps. The challenge, when focused on, is daunting.

With the above context, the JCAP identified three working themes through which this challenge is faced and the responses and actions are undertaken:

Work theme 1 focuses on environmental management practices of our institutes and lifestyle and the goal is to improve our collective understanding of how “Reconciliation with Creation” can exist in our institutions.

Work theme 2 focuses on youth education for sustainability and where we are challenged to identify significant experiences in our formation programs that help us develop ethical, theological, biblical, and spiritual foundations.

Work theme 3 focuses on governance of natural resources and seeks an understanding of the global approaches and strategies emerging that will provide us the rationale for developing appropriate resource management plans.

JCAP implements the following work themes by developing programs that provide platforms for exchange of ideas, views, and methods through a collaboration with the Environmental Science for Social Change, a Jesuit research institution in the Philippines.

The general objective of this mechanism is to help develop and mature fitting expressions of the work on environment and natural resources that are rooted in programs and initiatives of the Society of Jesus in Asia and the Pacific.

The Jesuits in their 35th Congregation recognized that:

“The drive to access and exploit sources of energy and other natural resources is very rapidly widening the damage to earth, air, water, and our whole environment, to the point that the future of our planet is threatened… Many poor communities have been displaced, and indigenous peoples have been the most affected…”

The Congregation goes on to speak of the approach needed.

“We should find ways in which our experiences … could interact with those institutions, so that research results and advocacy have effective practical benefits for society and the environment. Advocacy and research should serve the poor and those who work for the protection of the environment.”

To know more about JCAP’s work themes, please go to http://essc.org.ph/content/blogcategory/76/160/

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