Is the corona crisis a point of return for humanity and society? A return to fundamental values and lost narratives? What impact does this U-turn have on us, on you? UCSIA turns the spotlight on societal issues as motor of change in the wake of the crisis with a programme that engages with current public debate. Find the description of our U-Turn programme and consult the calendar of events. Exceptional times force us to halt and rethink the course we are following Should we not change course in a radical way? Revisit our trajectory to find out where we failed to take the bend, or what exit we missed? To redirect our course and adjust our trajectory? With this goal in mind, UCSIA takes on its role as reflection forum and laboratory for creative thinking. In dialogue with innovative thinkers about where to go with our society. How may we construct together a society of justice and solidarity an economy that is ethically responsible a community that is religiously and culturally tolerant education that is socially relevant in a critical and humanist way inspired by the intellectual traditions of the Jesuits?
After corona, the U-turn
For U-turn, a new initiative of UCSIA, we found inspiration in the call of the Conference of European Provincials of the Society of Jesus (see the newsletter Jesuits in Europe of May 1st 2020):
The route of our ordinary life has been forced to turn in the opposite direction. The cause has been the expansion of an invisible enemy that puts our health, our family, our society and even our life at risk. Even from the difficult experience of missing, we have rediscovered that everything is better with U, it is better with Us, it is better with God.UCSIA wants to contribute to broad solidarity, which is imperative more than ever. Support for people you are not related to, people outside your personal circle of empathy, strangers. Belgium manifests quite some forms of broad solidarity, but can do better: on a European scale and in cooperation with the global South. Broad solidarity requires dedicated care. ‘Take care of yourself and of those who are near to you’ became a standard phrase to conclude messages we sent to each other in the lockdown period. The public eight o’clock applauding to express our appreciation for the great efforts of the health workers is hopefully a forebear of more structural support for their dedication. Many gestures of spontaneous solidarity emerged. Shopping for groceries for one another, borrowing laptops for childrens’ homework, voluntary work in food banks … These concrete actions and experiences of close and committed care are the humus in which broad solidarity can grow. Because experiencing solidarity in a concrete and close manner incites us to strengthen broad solidarity through structures and institutions such as social security. It is time to leave the well-trodden path of ‘business as usual’ and take a U-turn in the direction of a more sustainable world. The 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ offer us a yardstick. UCSIA adds an 18th SDG: spiritual sustainability. Culture, religion, spirituality… offer inspiration for reflection and are sources of connecting narratives.
In our U-turn programme these topics are investigated. Experts bear witness, reflect and discuss. Their message will reach a large audience, in times when gatherings with large groups are not yet possible. Therefore most activities will be conducted online. We organize debates on e-platforms and post text and video material on our website. Where possible we will edit the papers in print. Stay tUned!
Digital Liturgy & Pastoral
Interview with Philip Debruyne sj
15 June 2020