A wounded world cries out for healing

By John Dardis SJ, General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning

Restorative Justice: how can it help promote reconciliation? The Covid pandemic: how are the great world religions responding? These were the main themes addressed by Father General’s Council in a special week of discussions from 16th to 19th December.

We were aided by Guido Bertagna and Julian Carlos Ríos Martín who are both experts in restorative justice and by James Hanvey, Secretary for the Service of the Faith.

Key insights emerged: In normal judicial processes, the three main questions are:
- Was the law broken?
- Who did it?
- What does the person deserve?

In restorative justice, the questions are radically different:
- Who is hurt?
- What are their needs?
- Who should answer those needs?

Disagreement often happens around the meaning of the facts for different parties involved, not about the facts themselves, for example a robbery or a murder.

Guido left us with a question for reflection: which areas of my/our life and history are hardest to enter into for myself... for the Society... and for the world?

James Hanvey led a discussion around a variety documents prepared by Father General’s advisors for inter-religious dialogue. The focus was the ways in which the different religious traditions are responding to the Covid pandemic. The great religions of the world are a social and political force as well as sources of spiritual resilience and meaning. The religions too of the indigenous peoples also provide frameworks of understanding and resources for responding to the many different levels of a pandemic’s impact. None of the religions adopt a passive, fatalistic approach but they all see in such crises a way of deepening the sense of our common humanity, our place in the nature, and the responsibilities we have to each other and the planet. The soul and the imagination also need to be nourished and healed so that the true depth of human transcendence can become a source of life and compassion.

We don’t often have a chance to discuss the big themes together. This was a special week: A week of grace, a week of prayer, a week of deep reflection.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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