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Workshop on the Environment and the Society of Jesus

By the Jesuit Scholastics in Padua

During COP 16, we, the Jesuits students of Istituto Filosofico Aloisianum in Padua, participated in a three-day workshop “Environment and the mission of the Society of Jesus” as a learning community lead by Jacques Haers SJ (University of Leuven), and José Ignacio Garcia SJ (OCIPE). We are particularly grateful to all of them for having made us reflect on the environment as a fundamental and indivisible part of our mission as Jesuits of the XXI century.

The workshop, which followed an Ignatian approach, was structured in three main steps: seeing –  judging – acting. At the end of this process the following aspects emerged:

1.      The necessity to grow in consciousness that God gave us to be in the nature as its stewards (Gen 1:28);

2.      Talking about the environment, the urgency for the whole Church and The Society of Jesus to see itself as a learning community:

a.       called on to listen and ponder its own “presupponendum” (cfr. EE 22), ready to enlarge its vision, with a style capable of seeing, correlating and reconciling the plurality of forces in play. In other words, to be willing “to go to the frontiers”, those places you only know by experience, visiting and becoming part of them.

b.      called on to embody the principle of subsidiarity, that is to take responsibility. In this context it was important to consider justice, understood as “giving to the others what belongs to them” and charity as “giving to the others what belongs to me” both. For us, as part of the Church, it is fundamental to assume responsibilities both on the level of justice (Mt 6:33) and also on the level of charity (Mr 10:21).

3.      The need of a better shared apostolic discernment, that leads us to be concrete before this emergency and to act with hope and creativity, without being paralyzed by our own process of discernment;

4.      The certainty that any discourse in favour of the environment can’t be expressed and held without a profound spiritual conversion that changes our everyday lifestyle. To be more attentive to what’s around us could be a first step in this spirit (for example, do we consider the trash in the streets of Naples something “usual” or do we have something to say about?).

Very grateful for this workshop, we ask our Lord to continue to learn to discern in these days (καιρός) the signs of the times and act in His name.

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