BY ISN STAFF | December 2, 2015
LOYOLA, SPAIN — From November 16-20, Society of Jesus networks involved in social justice ministry around the world held a “Networking for Justice” meeting in Loyola, Spain to discuss how to combat social and environmental injustice.
The final document produced by the meeting recommended strengthening international Jesuit networks in order to address the effects of globalization on the poor as well as climate change. “Today, we feel an urgency to respond to these challenges, working for the inclusion of those that are excluded, experience poverty and to protect the sustainability of nature which is being threatened,” said the report.
This meeting came just days before the COP21 U.N. climate summit in Paris, where heads of state met this week to iron out an historic climate change deal. The Jesuit meeting was also held one year before the Society of Jesus’ 36th General Congregation, and amid the perilous reality of a world that has seen a record 60 million refugees flee war, and more than 170 million people flee undignified living conditions caused by poverty, hunger, lack of educational opportunities or environmental damage.
In 2008, the 35th General Congregation of the Jesuits encouraged “establishing vehicles in the field of advocacy between political power and those who find it difficult to make their voices heard… building bridges and offering new forms of understanding.” Since then, the Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN) have been developed to work in a variety of fields, such as Migration, Right to Education, Ecology and Governance of Natural Resources all of which were present at the meeting.
Joining these global networks were the social coordinators of all of the Apostolic Conferences of the Society of Jesus from all continents, along with members of the Xavier Network, and additional global networks from the Social Apostolate of the Society.
The primary purpose for this event was to promote networking of the Society of Jesus in the struggle for social justice. In the words of Patxi Álvarez de los Mozos, the Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology of the Society of Jesus, “We want to establish alliances for a more just and sustainable world, where the poor can live with dignity.”