An important part of the Jesuit Mission is living together with people from different faiths and finding ways of working on critical issues that face the community. The Second Vatican Council, which helped significantly modernise the church, called on all Catholics to "acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods found in other religions, and the values in their society and culture," as a way to "join hands with them to work towards a world of peace, liberty, social justice and moral values."
Such dialogue is often spearheaded in the midst of extreme social conflict as we unfortunately see on the continent of Africa. Jesuit intervention seeks to reverse the cycles of violence and retribution entangled in religion, ethnicity, or other forms of group identity. In any social context, this is a deeply spiritual as well as social especially in Africa where religion plays such an important part of everyday life.
Interfaith dialogue involves understanding what God might be saying through other religious traditions. For a few Jesuits, dialogue means theological exchange. It demands not just face-to-face debate but a life of study and constant reflection on what God may be saying through these other religious traditions
In this and many other ways, Jesuits are seeking to multiply sparks of hope for God's "greater glory."
What does this mean specifically in Africa?
- Working closely with representatives and members of other faiths so that they better understand Christianity and we understand them.
- Providing services to members of other faiths so that they are drawn closer and understand the key message of Christian compassion.
- Creating forums, through our Peace institutes where areas of tension and cooperation can be discussed.