Forming ‘men and women for others’ is not an easy job. Jesuit universities have long worked to make this a reality, forming students and alumni to become competent people in their areas of expertise, with a thirst for knowledge and a critical eye for social justice. They strive to provide a transformation that is both humane and humanizing.

Several Jesuit universities from around Europe and the Near East meet to explore new ways of collaborating, built on their common Ignatian roots. Even if they are geographically apart, they have a similar culture and mission. However, moving such big institutions to respond to the pragmatic needs of the societies they are part of is quite a challenge. Working hand in hand helps us get there. 

The first cluster meeting of the HEST Program. The first cluster meeting of the HEST programme has finally taken place on January 16, at the IQS facilities in Barcelona, thus becoming the starting pistol for the rest of the clusters. The cluster to take the lead has been the one on Economy, Poverty and Ethics. Dr. José Sols Lucia, one of the coordinators of the Cluster, welcomed us to his university and guided us during the whole meeting. It was a particularly significant moment for all of us who are working in this HEST adventure. The main goal of the meeting was to dream of what we wanted to achieve with this cluster in the next three years and contextualize and concretize in key action steps and activities. 10 people participated in the meeting:  • Javier Arellano (Universidad de Deusto)  • Pedro Caldentey (Universidad Loyola Andalucía)  • Eoin Carroll (Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin)  • Dariusz Dankowski SJ (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow)  • Marta Ramos (Universidad Pontificia Comillas)  • Albert Evrard SJ (Université de Namur)  • Mihály Borsi (IQS - Ramon Llull University)  • José Sols (IQS - Ramon Llull University)  • Frank Turner SJ (Delegate for the Intellectual Apostolate)  • José Carlos Romero (Universidad Pontificia Comillas - HEST coordinator) The meeting was divided in three main parts: in the first one, José Carlos Romero presented the general lines of the HEST programme, with its 7 thematic clusters and its clear orientation towards the collaborative work between the higher education centres of the Society of Jesus in Europe and its social centres. After a fruitful round of questions, which helped clarify some aspects related to the programme, we proceeded to a second part in which Dr. Pedro Caldentey explained the context and some possible lines of research for the cluster. Again, the presentation gave rise to an interesting exchange of views on the course of the cluster. Finally, we faced the last part of the meeting that sought to concretize the research question and propose the next steps to take. We finally chose this general research question: No one will be left behind: How can we promote justice and common good in global economy? Ideas and practices to build inclusive and sustainable societies: Beyond the paradigm of competition and self-interest. We also defined a transversal approach to that question:  A common analytical and critical perspective: a preferential option for those living at the margins And we decided to look for specific questions with a narrower and more defined approach according to one or more of the following perspectives:  • Theological and Philosophical perspective.  • Public policy/Legal perspective.  • Business perspective  • Economic perspective.  • Cultural perspective.  • Ecological perspective. In order to close the final formulation of the research, we decided that each of the assistants would send to Pedro and José their feedback to the draft proposal.  Afterwards, the Programme and the Cluster coordinators would work in a concept note from those feedbacks. The note will include the final formulation of the questions and the vision of the Cluster together with concrete proposals on research teams organization, outputs and timelines. The meeting ended with a kind farewell to everybody. The cluster is already running, or better said, flying! An exciting research process is waiting for us.
  On Friday January 20th, some 150 people were invited at Centre Sèvres to discover what makes the “special flavour” of the Jesuit faculties of Paris. A dozen presentations, talks and workshops were spread throughout the evening. They varied from topical issues in bioethics, to a debate about Trump’s America; from textbook readings in the field of patristics and ignatian spirituality and a presentation of some of the library’s old treasures to the discovery of a contemporary musical piece… The only problem was choosing ! After a short prayer time, a typical Syrian diner was served. All the money raised will go to a project supported by the Jesuit Refugees Service in Lebanon.
There is nothing new about divisions in the Church, and all of us could tell stories of Christians faced with interdenominational tensions.That is the message of a new book by a leading Jesuit scripture scholar that would be an appropriate read during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 - 25 January). In The Scandal of Christian Disunity, Fr Nick King SJ argues that the Church has an absolute duty to proclaim the gospel - especially today; however, it is always vital that we check that it is indeed the gospel that we are trying to preach, since we are fallible and sinful and can get it wrong. The first chapter of Fr King’s book (The mystery of anti-ecumenism) considers the scandal of Christian disunion, and in particular the mystery whereby perfectly good people seem content to live with the scandal. He then looks at each of the 27 documents that constitute the New Testament and demonstrates that the writers were well aware of the possibility of divisions in the Church. In additon to detailed analysis of the Gospels, he looks at how Paul and his supporters attended to divisions, especially in his correspondence with the Christians in Corinth and Rome; and how conflicts were dealt with in the Acts of the Apostles.The early Christian had a way of coping with the divisions, he concludes, by keeping their eyes on God and on Jesus. Marian devotion The final part of the book considers one particular issue that divides Christians of the Roman Catholic Church from other Christians: Marian devotion - the role given to Mary the mother of Jesus, and in particular to the two teachings about her Immaculate Conception and her Assumption. The chapter contemplates whether the Catholic position represents an unbridgeable gap for Christians from other traditions. Fr Nick King SJ currently teaches Biblical Studies at Heythrop College University of London. Prior to that, he taught for many years in South Africa, and then at Oxford University. After a sabbatical year as a Visiting Professor at the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, he was Academic Director of Theology at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He is renowned for his translations and commentaries on the Scriptures, including the Psalms and the Gospels. The Scandal of Christian Disunity is published by Kevin Mayhew at £17.99.
Looking for new ways of improving coexistence and dialogue. The city is a frontier of change of our time. The cities host a large number of people (in Spain 80% population) and hold many processes because of its complexity. Cities concentrate many conflicts and most of the forgotten people in our world live in its suburbs. In this context, the campaign "We dream the city, we build it together" emerges from the Faith-Culture-Justice Centers of the Jesuits in Spain, a project to propose a contemplative and interdisciplinary perspective on the city and looking for new ways of improving coexistence and dialogue. The campaign began with a reflection published in the Jesuit magazine Razón y Fe, and now more than 40 activities -seminars, conferences, round tables or courses- have been carried out in the 22 centers. Now the campaign has just launched a website where you can find articles, posts, conferences and other publications reflecting on the city from areas as theology, politics or social science.
Politics, and the threat of the far right taking power, has been a serious anxiety in recent months in many countries, not least in France. Recently, the French bishops produced an important document [1] helping Catholics to reflect on their political responsibilities. A few weeks back, the Jesuit theology centre in Paris, the Centre Sèvres [2], held an interesting discussion on the issues. The main speaker was Philippe Portie [3]r, a professor at the Sorbonne, a noted commentator on Catholic affairs, and an expert on the history of French secularism. Professor Portier began by taking us back to Leo XIII and Pius XI, the first popes to show a real interest in modern political life. But it took Vatican II for the official Church to move beyond a paternalistic stance, telling everyone what to do, and to become more dialogical. Now we take this for granted. Inside the Church, Catholics follow their own best sense of what to do in choosing whom they support. And in the public forum, Catholics no longer think it their role to impose divine law on civil society. Rather, Catholics are quite happy to seek the common good by taking their part in the different kinds of reflection going on in society at large. The temptation for some Catholics is to think this means we have sold out to relativism. Professor Portier helped us to look at the matter differently. What has happened is that we have become aware of our own consciences, our subjective powers of choice. And that new awareness involves also recognising that others, too, have these gifts. To become aware of the personal is also to become aware of the interpersonal: of the fact that we live together, in society. All this leads to different ways of thinking about religion and politics, beyond the tired contrasts between theocracy and militant secularism. Moreover, religion can enrich political discussions. Jürgen Habermas once wrote of how religion can bring into public discussion an awareness of those who are left out. This is an important contribution to political discussion, particularly when it comes to questions of value and meaning. It was in this light that Professor Portier was encouraging us to read what the French bishops were saying. Of course the French Constitution, with its strict marginalization of religious authority, must be respected. But that point of political principle is in no way undermined if we nevertheless insist on two important matters of prudent political policy. Firstly, there must, in a pluralist society, be ways in which the citizens can always be in dialogue so as not to be shut up in subcultures of the like-minded. Secondly, we need to be very careful about those who get left behind in the move towards globalization—otherwise there is a danger that our society will simply fall apart. The bishops are seriously worried on these scores. The main thing they are suggesting is that we need to make new efforts to keep good lines of communication open. This might sound rather high-minded and woolly, as if we have abandoned any overall vision of human society and of what gives life meaning. It will certainly annoy Catholics who have a nostalgia for the good old days of clear Catholic teaching and the boundaries it set. But it is not, Professor Portier stressed, that the bishops are abandoning a Catholic social vision. They remain committed to a vision of society resting on the common good. But the most obvious step now towards bringing that about involves working harder, and in new ways, at establishing good communication between all concerned. Links: [1] [2] [3]
and our access to the world. The current Issue of the Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia deals with a number of subjects that revolve around determining the role that perception and concepts perform in the constitution of our access to the world and, consequently, the knowledge we acquire about it. The thematic focus of this Issue is, thus, the consideration of the proper status of perceptions, concepts and relationships that subsist between them, be they internal or external. The first nine articles deal with this theme historically; they offer a critical analysis of these questions in several classical German philosophers such as Leibniz, Kant, Herder, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Feuerbach. The nine articles that follow these present systematic approaches to the theme, establishing dialogues with various contemporary philosophers, both analytical and continental in inspiration.