The New Promotio Iustitiae (No. 125) “Leadership and Governance”

Kajiyama Yoshio SJ
Director of Jesuit Social Center

  The newest issue of Promotio Iustitiae (no. 125, 2018/1), published by the Jesuit Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, just arrived. It is a special issue regarding “Leadership and Governance — A call to Reconcile and Recreate.” I have selected several articles out of the 14 included there and offer them here, not as a summary, but with the hope that this will encourage those who would like to read them. The originals can be downloaded from the following Web site:

(1) Characteristics of Ignatian Leadership : An Orientation that Bears Fruit
by Sarah Broscombe, Coordinator of the Ignatian Leadership Programme, Yorkshire, UK
  The “Spiritual Exercises” are basically intended to foster friendship with God. That friendship is the source of leadership. In the “Meditation on the Two Standards” Jesus calls on us to imitate him, accepting poverty, contempt and humility as he did. Such is, as well, the life style of a leader.
  Pedro Ribadeneira, in his treatise on “Ignatius’ Methods of Governance” asserts that, because authority is needed to help and do good to others, it is necessary to have authority. For that reason, authority has to be acquired. However, such authority is not won with anything that tastes or smells of the world, but rather…. It is only by true humility that one can acquire it.
  Orientation for leadership requires sincere living, friendship with God, a free heart and humility, and the results are helping souls, magnanimity, love and discernment, operational wisdom, openness to change, and consolation.

(2) Leadership in Jesus’ Style
by Carlos Rafael Cabarrús Pellecer, SJ, Ignatian Movement for Integral Formation(MIFI),Guatemala
  Leaders are pioneers. They are masters of understanding and building structures of cooperation. They know how to return to their origins. They are free from fear, prejudices, and attachments. They reject money, power, and personal interests.
  In confronting injustice, they are persons who are instinctively indignant and struggle for the common good. They are persons who, even if they don’t experience the faith, feel called to the way and the work of Jesus when it is presented to them. (God as a merciful father; the establishment today of God’s Kingdom is possible; the joy of living in communion with others, being forgiven and healed by the Holy Spirit; training others to take over the task of spreading the Kingdom of God; freeing people from evil oppression; and carrying the cross).
  Concerning the Society’s institutions, one needs to work to build or strengthen the team and constantly review and evaluate its quality and not only its activity. The greater glory of God—a living humanity—should be our great criterion of action. There is need to educate more inclusively regarding the rights of persons and of nature. It is very important to contribute to a civilizational change.
The raison d’etre of Jesuit leadership is for social transformation.

(3) Governing in an Ignatian Spirit Today
by Dr Sandie Cornish, Practitioner of Catholic Social Teaching, Australia
  Discernment is important for reconciliation with God. Discernment is the responsibility of all who participate in governance. Even non-Jesuit participants in governance must receive training in discernment and, at the same time, should participate in the process of exercising discernment.
  Regarding reconciliation with others, the Society’s option for the poor is a central concern of Ignatian government—the desire to follow Jesus, poor and humble, and Ignatius’ experience in the vision at La Storta, where he was placed by the Father with Jesus carrying his Cross.
  Regarding reconciliation with creation, there is need to review our ethical principles in relation to our investments and to examine our systems from the point of view of reducing and recycling. The “Spiritual Exercises” (no.60) invite us to experience “wonder and surging emotion, uttered as I reflect on all creatures and wonder how they have allowed me to live and have preserved me in life.” The response this Exercise calls forth is one of gratitude and wonder….
  The basis of collaboration and networking describes the relationship of Ignatius and his companions as being “friends in the Lord.”

(4) Governance and Leadership in Today’s Context
by Stany Pinto, SJ and Erwin Lazrado, SJ, Jesuits in Social Action (JESA) members, Gujarat, India
  South Asian countries are facing challenges like poverty, ethnicity, religious sectarianism, illiteracy, class inequality, and caste. Nowadays in India we have the emergence of a right-wing fundamentalist government, backed by a Hindu nationalist social organization with policies not much in conformity with the Constitution of India. At risk are the citizens’ rights of minority groups.
  With the new policies of the government, many church groups would prefer to play it safe by working or aligning with the government, rather than taking the side of the poor and the marginalized. JESA has been at the forefront for the service of faith and the promotion of justice, but those Jesuits involved in social action have, in some instances, shifted to charity works and an apostolate that requires few challenges. It is time for us to join hands or force alliances with men and women of good will ready and committed to challenging the unjust oppressive structures.
  JESA members are too used to an individual and institutionalized style of functioning. The life style of young members is perceived as too materialistic and secular, resulting in young scholastics not being attracted to the social apostolate. Independent Centers hardly come together, with very little outcome as a result.
  There is need to listen to the cry of the oppressed. Their cry challenges all of us.
  JESA commits itself to the empowerment of the marginalized, the poor, and other vulnerable sections of society: the Dalits, Adivasis, women, children, unorganized workers, minorities, forcibly displaced people and migrants.
  The People’s Leadership for Equity, Solidarity and Justice (PEOPLESJ) training program is a leadership program in slums and villages to strengthen networking and encourage women’s empowerment. An important factor in the process of the program is to accept the poor and those living on the periphery as the center. Research is the basis. The organization as such is not the object to be pursued, but the building of organizations where people are in the center. Teamwork of a formed team produces cooperation, evaluation, and results are to be stressed.

(5) Challenges for Leadership and Governance in the Promotion of Social Justice and Ecology in the Church and the Society
by Ludovic Lado, SJ, Visiting Jesuit Chair, Georgetown University, Washington DC
  It is evident that the institutional Church’s credibility in the world has been severely tarnished by the recent sexual abuse crisis. Sexual abuse and its mishandling are manifestations of the perversion of clericalism.
  The Church is very well situated in the world, in society. However, this incarnation in society does not come without risks. This model of leadership, as self-sacrifice for others, is the type of governance that Jesus recommends to the Church (Mark 10:42-45).
  The Church hierarchies fall into the temptation of power and money and, losing sight of the Church’s redemptive mission, become obsessed with the objective of self-preservation, with the result of committing all kinds of abuses.
  The principle of collegiality should no longer be confined to relations between bishops and the Pope, but to a more participatory governance that empowers lay-people.
  Clerical monopoly in the Church brings power over the laity, reformation of rules on governance, and thus there is need to build structures to control clerical power.
  If the Church wants to make contributions to society, the service of reconciliation, justice and peace should begin within the Church itself. Bishops should be exemplary in life and conduct.

(6) Challenges and Obstacles for Leadership and Governance in the Promotion of Social Justice and Ecology
by Yolanda González Cerdeira, ERIC-Radio Progresso, Honduras
  The starting point is the preferential option for the poor. We need leadership and governance to promote justice and ecology. The temptation to prevent it comes from living in seclusion in comfort zones, closing our eyes to the signs of the times. One temptation is to see ourselves in the “vanguard” of the Church, trying to guard vast structures, locked away in bureaucracy.
  The promotion of justice is not only an issue of local projects for those on the periphery and socially excluded people. This challenge must be the choice of the entire Jesuit organization.
  A policy is needed to promote justice and ecology in all Jesuit works, the universities and the schools. Also there is need to prioritize being close to the poor in formation programs.
  The fear of “the political” inhibits our mission.
  The improvement of our Jesuit governance as a patriarchal society impels us to start building new gender relations, listening to women. To improve our individual ways, vertical and from top to bottom, we must transform our Society and ourselves in feeling and thought.

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