The Promotion of Justice
Jesuit Documents about the Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice. 
This site offers links to the texts of some critical documents to help understand the the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of the service of faith and the Promotion of Justice.  Of particular importance are the decrees of several General Congregations of the Society of Jesus.  The General Congregation is the way the Society of Jesus selects a new Superior General and sets policy that governs the Society of Jesus.  There have been 34 General Congregations since St. Ignatius' day, 450 years ago.

The 32nd General Congregation
of the Society of Jesus
December 2nd, 1974 - March 7th, 1975
Decree 4:
Our Mission Today
The Service of Faith and
the Promotion of Justice.

77 28.  From all over the world where Jesuits are working, very similar and very insistent requests have been made that, by a clear decision on the part of the General Congregation, the Society should commit itself to work for the promotion of justice.  Our apostolate today urgently requires that we take this decision.  As apostles we are bearers of the Christian message.  And at the heart of the Christian message is God revealing Himself in Christ as the Father of us all whom through the Spirit He calls to conversion.  In its integrity, then, conversion means accepting that we are at one and the same time children of the Father and brothers and sisters of each other.  There is no genuine conversion to the love of God without conversion to the love of neighbor and, therefore, to the demands of justice.  Hence, fidelity to our apostolic mission requires that we propose the whole of Christian salvation and lead others to embrace it. Christian salvation consists in an undivided love of the Father and of the neighbor and of justice.  Since evangelization is proclamation of that faith which is made operative in love of others, the promotion of justice is indispensable to it.

Decree 4 of G.C. 32 transformed the 
identity and ministry of the Society of Jesus.

The 34th General Congregation
of the Society of Jesus
December 5 to March 22, 1995

Decree 3:
Our Mission and Justice

50 1. In response to the Second Vatican Council, we, the Society of Jesus, set out on a journey of faith as we committed ourselves to the promotion of justice as an integral part of our mission. That commitment was a wonderful gift of God to us, for it put us into such good company--the Lord’s surely, but also that of so many friends of his among the poor and those committed to justice. As fellow pilgrims with them towards the Kingdom, we have often been touched by their faith, renewed by their hope, transformed by their love. As servants of Christ’s mission, we have been greatly enriched by opening our hearts and our very lives to “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted.”1

51 2. And we have done so in many ways. The promotion of justice has been integrated into traditional ministries and new ones, in pastoral work and social centers, in educating “men and women for others,” in direct ministry with the poor. We also acknowledge our failures on the journey. The promotion of justice has sometimes been separated from its wellspring of faith. Dogmatism or ideology sometimes led us to treat each other more as adversaries than as companions. We can be timid in challenging ourselves and our institutional apostolates with the fullness of our mission of faith seeking justice.

52 3. Therefore we want to renew our commitment to the promotion of justice as an integral part of our mission, as this has been extensively developed in General Congregations 32 and 33. Our experience has shown us that our promotion of justice both flows from faith and brings us back to an ever deeper faith. So we intend to journey on towards ever fuller integration of the promotion of justice into our lives of faith, in the company of the poor and many others who live and work for the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Other documents of GC 34

Including important decrees on:
Our Mission and Culture

Our Mission and Inter-religious Dialogue

Cooperating with the Laity in Mission

Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and Civil Society

The Service of Faith
and the
Promotion of Justice
in American Jesuit Higher Education

Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Superior General 
of the Society of Jesus

Santa Clara University, 
October 6, 2000

Fr. Kolvenbach outlines how the Jesuit emphasis on the promotion of justice has become so central to Jesuit sponsored universities today.

He offered several concrete challenges for Jesuit universities.  The talk is well worth reading for anyone desiring to understand how seriously the Society desires that Jesuit universities give themselves to that service of the faith which promotes justice.

This is the speech that
started it all.
Men and Women
for Others

Pedro Arrupe, S.J.
Superior General of the Society of Jesus

This is the speech that Fr. Arrupe gave to the gathering of Alumni of Jesuit schools.  Valencia, Spain, 1973.  Many in his audience walked out.
Defining what he meant by doing the "works of justice" he said:

First, a basic attitude of respect for all people which forbids us ever to use them as instruments for our own profit.

Second, a firm resolve never to profit from, or allow ourselves to be suborned by, positions of power deriving from privilege, for to do so, even passively, is equivalent to active oppression.  To be drugged by the comforts if privilege is to become contributors to injustice as silent beneficiaries of the fruits of injustice.

Third, an attitude not simply of refusal but of counterattack against injustice; a decision to work with others toward the dismantling of unjust social structures so that the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized of this world may be set free.

NEW: It turns out that the talk above was s condensed summar of the talk Fr. Arrupe gave.
See the full text of the original presentation Fr. Arrupe gave, in this new English translation.
Justice Resources at Creighton
Justice Links
Resources for Exploring 
the Jesuit and Catholic Tradition
Creighton Center for 
Service & Justice

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Collaborative Ministry Office