JESUITS PARTICIPATING IN THE“INTEGRAL ECOLOGY” CONFERENCE
“INTEGRAL ECOLOGY: The care of our common home”
International Conference Washington, D.C. USA (Georgetown University)
The Director of the JCAM Justice and Ecology Office (JEO), Fr. Charles Chilufya along with Fr. Rigobert Minani, the convenor of the Ecclesial Network for the Congo Basin and the Secretary for Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, Fr. Xavier Jeyaraj are participating in an International Conference dubbed “INTEGRAL ECOLOGY: a synodal response from the Amazon and other essential biomes / territories for the care of our common home” taking place from March 19th to 21st at Georgetown University in Washington DC. The Conference has called together several notable personalities of the Church that include Cardinals and Bishops from Africa, Asia Europe and South America. Among the Bishops is Congolese Bishop Donat Bfuindisson, a Jesuit, who heads one of the dioceses right in the heart of the Congo basin.
The conference is looking forward to developing approaches and essential axes of the category of INTEGRAL ECOLOGY in Laudato Si’. The conference also offers an opportunity to share about the process towards the Bishops’ Synod of the Amazon. On October 15, 2017, Pope Francis summoned, the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to reflect on the theme “Amazon: New paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology”, which will be carried out in its closing phase in October 2019.
The other thrust of the conference is to encourage an innovative pastoral perspective that allows a territorial communion in the biomes that are essential for the planet and advances efforts toward the defense of our common home freely given us by God. The conference is relevant for Africa and Madagascar because it joins together in one conversation and effort the most important biomes of our world: the Amazon, the Congo basin, the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, the tropical forests of the Asia Pacific region. The conference is building on many current and ongoing efforts globally being designed to find answers to the climate crisis that the world as a whole and humanity are facing. It is thus a response to the urgent need to promote the care of our common home. This, as we know, has a lot of importance for the universal Church as shown in Pope´s Francis’ LAUDATO SI and EVANGELII GAUDIUM, both of which provide very powerful frameworks for Pastoral and Socioecological conversions.
Furthermore, the Conference seeks to highlight the need to respond to the culture of extractivism and untethered consumption that conceives of places like our forests and natural lands as spaces that must be occupied, controlled and integrated according to external interests. Natural land and forests are looked at as spaces to be exploited. Yet natural forests and lands have a rich great socio-diversity that must be preserved or taken care of as they shelter indigenous people, indigenous trees, rivers, lakes, etc, which are all wonders and a beauty of God’s creation. In response to this situation, the church is providing a pastoral response through initiatives like the the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network REPAM, the Congo Basin Ecclesial Network (REBAC) and several other similar initiatives in Asia-Pacific. These inspired initiatives are calling the Church and the entire humanity to the process of embodying the call to care for the common home and towards a socio-environmental conversion (Laudato Si -LS-) and also to a socio-pastoral conversion (Evangelii Gaudium -EG-).
In the Spirit of General Congregation 35 (of the Society of Jesus) these initiatives in the Amazon, the Congo Basin and Asia Pacific supported by and in some cases led by Jesuits, are efforts of promoting reconciliation through building bridges for collaborative efforts among biomes / territories essential for the preservation of the planetary future..