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UUnijes presented the book Pensamiento social cristiano abierto al siglo XXI at Comillas, written by lecturers from Jesuit universities

05/27/2014

This event was attended by the Chairman of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Ricardo Blázquez

The presentation of the book Pensamiento social cristiano abierto al siglo XXI, published by Sal Terrae, was presided over by the Rector of Comillas University, Julio L. Martínez, SJ, and participants included the Chairman of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Ricardo Blázquez; the Chairman of Unijes (Jesuit Universities), Jaime Oraá, SJ, and the book coordinator and lecturer at the Instituto Químico de Sarriá (IQS) – Ramon Llul University, José Sols Lucia.

Pensamiento social cristina1

This collection of works carried out by Unijes lecturers mainly seeks to demonstrate that Christian social thought makes a solid and real contribution to a fairer and more humane world in this century. Taking Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical  Caritas in Veritate as a starting point, and including references to the most important documents of the Church’s modern social doctrine, from Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum to Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium, the authors address the enormous challenges facing humanity in the current context of globalisation, which could give rise to outs

After a short explanatory video about Unijes, the Chairman, professor Oraá, spoke at the presentation ceremony and explained that the Christian Social Thought Group of this organisation has been working on this issue for over 20 years, which is key to the all-embracing education students receive at their universities.  He referred to the audience that Pope Francis granted the UN’s Secretary-General and the directors-general of its agencies, whom he invited to foster a true global ethical mobilisation beyond political and religious beliefs in order to reach a common international stance with a special focus on the poor and the deprived so that the future sustainable development goals can be implemented with courage and have an impact on situations of hunger and poverty.  This involves, he said, challenging all forms of injustice.  He concluded by reiterating the commitment of Jesuit universities to justice and peace, which underlies the Church’s social doctrine.tanding developments throughout its history, such as an environmentally friendly civil economy and a global democracy that, based on a globally shared ethics, allowed a just peace worldwide.

The coordinator of the work and  Unijes’ Christian Social Thought Group, José Sols, referred to the book’s authors and pointed out that it is not a just a juxtaposition of articles but a collection of works that maintain a certain unity of style and analysis.  He highlighted that the book not only shows the great interest of the Society of Jesus to contribute to the Church’s social doctrine and its dissemination, which it does in two ways:  on the one hand, by explaining what has been done and, on the other, by addressing the challenges that should be faced by the Church today.  Moreover, the defence of human rights by the Society and Unijes is evident as well as their respect for plurality, without which there can be no dialogue.  The New Testament, he said, is structured around dialogue, which involves respect for otherness, and recognising that there are others you try to communicate with and understand.  When referring to the group’s internal plurality, he said:  “We are all in the same boat building the Kingdom of God in history.  We are all driven by this teleological horizon.  Not all those in the boat agree, but we agree that we are all in the same boat”.

            The Rector of Comillas referred to the issue addressed in the book, religion and society, on which some want to create confusion:  fundamentalism and sectarianism, on the one hand and, on the other, those who consider religion is something private.  As Professor Martínez added, at Unijes, we believe that religion has to do with politics in the broad and good sense, without mingling with it.  A clean and healthy social commitment emerges from Christian faith.  Excluding religion from the public sphere, as Benedict XVI says, leads to religious fundamentalism and impoverishes public life.  The Rector added that offering society this text about Christian social thought is for Unijes a way to fulfil the commitment of our Jesuit universities, which are peacefully placed between the social forces demanding freedom to a act as agents of the strategy for dialogue with the world and working with others for the common good.

Monsignor Blázquez concluded this session by dividing the history of the Church’s social doctrine into two sets of writings by the various popes, before focusing on the content of Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate, and Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, on which he commented on their different approaches and objectives.

 

Globalisation

 “Globalisation has created new opportunities and challenges to development and suggests the need to make progress in setting up supra-national governmental bodies.  Without them, it would not be possible to establish suitable conditions for the development of individual liberties, nor is it possible to claim a right to develop a practical and specific model”, as José Manuel Aparicio Malo, lecturer in Theology at Comillas Pontifical University states in his chapter “Desarrollo humano integral”, included in this collective work.

The global society draws us closer to one another, but does not make us more kindred.   Brotherhood appears then as an essential dimension of social justice, understood as an integral and solidarity human development.  As Josep M. Margenat Peralta, SJ, from Loyola Andalucía University pointed out, “what is at stake for humanity is to be able to build up a genuine brotherhood”.

The global market will be fully effective for the full development of all people, if it does not exclude moral values and regulates its own operation with universally valid laws, Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi, SJ, from Deusto writes.  However, he stresses the key idea that the human family should have a universal body of law which requires establishing a political authority worldwide.

María Dolors Oller Sala, from ESADE, added to the above that going in line with the globalisation of solidarity involves building a civilisation of love.  We are responsible for the birth of a new awareness that makes it possible to create a communion that, in such a plural world like ours, must always be communion in diversity.  This is how Christian tradition illuminates the path towards what is core in its faith experience, building brotherhood, a postulate of the French Revolution that is still brand new.

 

Pluralism

The world’s pluralism and diversity appear in the reflection that the Rector of Comillas, Julio L. Martínez, SJ makes on religion and society, where he states that privatising religion undermines its social impact.  To be relevant in a pluralist society, he added, participation, a commitment to reality and the pursuit of consensus with other worldviews are essential.  A key aspect is the acceptance of pluralism, which means the final departure from the uniformity of ancient society.  Building a framework of coexistence for all citizens, respectful of pluralism, is a task that no believer, whether lay or cleric, can be exempt from.

José Manuel Caamaño López, from Comillas, reminded that a good society is certainly the result of the market and freedom, but there are needs that can be guided into the principle of brotherhood, which cannot be avoided or left solely to the private sphere or philanthropy.  Therefore, he highlighted, it is essential to live reciprocity and sociability within the economic life in order to build a true civil and social economy, which is only possible when there is adequate room for free human relations.

According to the lecturer at Deusto Business School, Ricardo Aguado Muñoz, the economy of communion is positioned as a privileged space to enable the integral human development proposed in Caritas in Veritate.  Companies must be competitive in the market and make a profit, while collaborating for the common good, exercising brotherhood with those in need – in the dual role of sharing the economic benefits and creating opportunities for development- and using a management style in line with the culture of reciprocity.

 

Employment

Ensuring work-related rights is one of the greatest 21st century challenges addressed by Ildefonso Camacho, SJ, lecturer at the Faculty of Theology in Granada.  The strategies to face this situation, which calls into question work-related rights, need to be addressed with creativity; this means that we cannot think only about restoring the previous situation, as the conditions of the economy and the world society are very different.   Some of the strategies he proposes are: creating employment from a new international division of labour, which can offer new labour opportunities to non-western countries and help western countries to find new market niches or unexplored areas, among others; reducing working time so that it can be distributed; making labour market more flexible to meet the conditions of very globalised labour sectors and with rapid technological changes, which require to continually adapt and develop new products and services, while maintaining competitiveness;  reviewing the relationship between work and other human activities such as volunteering at the stage of retirement, and seeking other forms of income for unemployed people, including guaranteed minimum income, or basic income or social wage.

Ecology is situated within anthropology, José Sols Lucia, from IQS, writes quoting Benedict XVI. Taking care of nature involves taking care of man; they are not two different things but the same or, at least, two different things intrinsically related.  The same author, when referring to the topic of technology, offers two ideas of the Church’s social doctrine:  technology is a means, not an end, and it has a dangerous tendency to moral self-justification that can lead to deceptively believe that all that is technically feasible is morally good and it also has to be done, as failure to do it would mean to turn our backs on progress.

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