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Wednesday, October 26, 2016
New institute opens at Heythrop
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¬†The Heythrop Institute for Religion, Ethics and Public Life was officially launched last night, with an appeal for Catholics to become more involved in politics and engaged in the democratic process, and thereby become more active in human rights. The call came from Professor Conor Gearty, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics. He delivered his address in the presence of Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff (who is the bishops' representative on ethical issues), Bishop Bernard Longley of Westminster, the British Jesuit Provincial, Fr David Smolira SJ, and the Principal of Heythrop College, Dr John McDade SJ. In his talk, Prof Gearty praised the work of Non-Government Organisations, which are energised and motivated by UN Charters and legislation, calling their work "one of the great civilising triumphs of the past twenty years." And he appealed for more people around the world to be given access to democracy and to be treated with equality. "Human rights stands at its core for the assertion that all humans are equal, and therefore deserving of equality of esteem," he said. "The most effective way of manifesting this equality is by securing for everyone the right to participate in the governance of their community, to make collective decisions on its behalf Doing democracy ≠ engaging in a political life ≠ becomes the highest form of human rights that there is". Earlier, the Director of the new Institute, Dr James Hanvey SJ, said the Church had "an extraordinary opportunity" in the current social climate in which people are searching for meaning. "It demands of us a creative and imaginative effort no less than that faced by the Church in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The task is twofold: how to find an effective voice in the public sphere and how to deepen our faith and understanding so that the practice of Christian life is nourished and secured." Source: Jesuit Communications Office
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