Jesuits push intellectual frontiers

Delegates to the meeting of the intellectual ministry Campion Hall June 2016
Delegates to the meeting of the intellectual ministry Campion Hall June 2016

Last summer’s joint apostolic project between the Jesuits of the British, Irish, Dutch and Flanders provinces has given birth to a number of initiatives which are nurturing closer collaboration between individuals and institutions of the four provinces.

Last weekend 3rd-5th June Campion Hall in Oxford hosted the third meeting of a group of Jesuits engaged in teaching and academic research. 

There were eighteen delegates from the four provinces, including from Heythrop Michael KirwanSJ, Michael Barnes SJ, and Nicholas Austin SJ; and from Campion Hall James Hanvey SJ and James Campbell SJ.  Attending from Leuven University were Marc Desmet SJ, Rob Faesen SJ and Nicolas Standaert SJ.

The delegates gave and received eight papers on a range of subjects including Laudato Si from Gerald Whelan SJ of the Irish province who teaches Fundamental Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome, Rene Girard from Michael Kirwan SJ, and from Frank Turner SJ, provincial’s delegate for the intellectual apostolate in Britain, a paper which prompted discussion on what it means to be human in the world today.  This encouraged reflection on the challenges of secularisation, nationalism, technological change, environmental concerns, intolerance and mass migration.

Jesuit academics exchanging ideas“This was a great example of Jesuits thinking together across institutional, province and national boundaries, getting to know each-others’ intellectual language” commented convenor of the meeting Fr Dorian Llywelyn SJ of Heythrop College  “The meeting generated a lot of fruitful dialogue across a wide range of discussion topics and we came away feeling very energised and hopeful  that in future we would be able to share resources and ideas in practical ways across innovative  joint platforms”.

A follow up meeting is planned in Leuven towards the end of 2016.