The Promotion of Social Justice and Reconciliation Based on Faith
The Jesuit Social Center
The role of the Center consists in promoting a communications network, inside and outside the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Church, in order to work together and exchange information on matters pertaining to the social apostolate.
The Catholic social apostolate aims at furthering the “Kingdom of God” within social realities, as requested by Jesus Christ. In other words, our aim is to build communities based on forgiveness and affection, the realization of pluralistic societies living together in mutual respect.
The modern Church particularly stresses the relationship of the human person with God, with neighbor, with nature, and with oneself—a holistic reconciliation to promote Integral Human Development.
The Jesuit Social Center, in its effort to implement those principles, is committed to working together with Catholic and non-Catholic organizations and groups, Jesuits and other religious, as well as with citizens’ groups. The Center’s activities include social analysis and research correlating Christian faith with social realities, along with awareness programs, such as seminars and publications.
Focus of the Jesuit Social Center
1. “Social Justice” and “Option for the Poor” ･･･In other words, choosing to take the side of those rejected by society.
In contrast to the tendency to lock oneself within problems of one’s own world following the decline in modern Japan of a true social sense and an increase of political allergy, we show a clear attitude for the “promotion of Justice based on Christian Faith.”
Moreover, we commit ourselves to issues of human rights, medical care, and labor of those ejected into the periphery of modern Japanese society, like refugees, children, students and the working poor who are suffering in our midst.
Again, we continue advocacy activities for the quality of life and social inclusion of the poor, through a dialogue that confronts the limitations of freedom of expression and opinions, of a total militarization of society, the whirl of nationalism and anti-evangelical globalization of an economic system of material growth controlled by the wealthy few whose profits dominate the majority.
2. Spiritual Approach
In this respect, we stress the particular role of awareness and reflection as well as communal discernment grounded in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In other words, while paying special attention to the roots of social movements, we foster sympathetic potential and a dialogical attitude with regard to living realities, a social spirituality to discern the ways in which evil pulls people away from God, as well as spiritual ecology.
3. Network Links
Among our goals we try to find concrete places where we can meet with those suffering in society, especially youth, civic groups that also share social awareness, other Jesuits and Church people in apostolic works. We also provide opportunities to learn and promote social awareness.
Addenda 1: Jesuit Social Apostolate
Focus of our present Jesuit social apostolate.
1. Globalization and Peripheries
2. Migrants and Refugees
3. War and Conflicts
The Japan Province of the Society of Jesus, in dialogue with religious leaders and neighboring East Asian countries, is deeply committed to the following main issues.
1. The promotion of Justice with regard to problems of poverty, violence, and discrimination gaps in the context of Asian politics and Asian economies that are shaken by globalization.
2. Moral reflection on the threat to life and the environment occasioned by nuclear plants and weapons and the industrial-military complex.
3. The building of peace through commitment to the Peace Constitution and recognition of historical facts.
4. Commitment to the painfulness of modern man.
In this respect, models and norms can be found from the following perspectives.
1. Directives given in the Gospel, the Pope, and Bishops’ statements.
2. Particularly, the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and Vatican II concerning moral ethics concerning life, ecology, peace and respect for the person and human rights.
3. The inspiration of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Basic spiritual Jesuit Compendium) and the directives of the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus on Promotion of Justice and Service of Faith.
4. The Option for the Poor, a rather recent attitude of the Catholic Church.
Addenda 2: Work of the Jesuit Social Center
Since its foundation in 1980s the Center, with its Christian orientation, continues collaborating with citizens’ groups and private persons, and holds programs of awareness through analysis of social problems from an evangelical viewpoint. It implements its goals through national and international Catholic and Jesuit networks, such as the Labor Education Center in Shimonoseki, Tabiji-no-Sato for homeless people in Kamagasaki, the Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference (JCAP), University research institutes, junior and senior high schools, links with parishes for exchange experiences, volunteer action, and the offering of sites for gatherings.
Concretely, we cooperate, among others, with the Jesuit Migrant Desk, Camboren (Association for Solidarity with our Friends the People of Cambodia), Japa Vietnam, “Stop the Death Penalty!” The Religious Communities’ Network, Japan Catholic Council for Justice & Peace (the group demanding the abolition of capital punishment, the group of Atoms Free for Peace, the group for policies against the revision of the Constitution), Kojimachi St. Ignatius Church, Adachi International Academy (AIA), Forum for Refugees Japan (FRJ), and Sophia University’s Institute of Global Concern (IGC) and the Faculty of Theology.