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Jesuit Universities working with locals to promote democratic ideals

2012-07-01

Members from these different schools recently gathered in Rome to discuss the situation of Democracy, Culture, and Catholicism in each of their countries.

Many of these Jesuit Universities deal with censorship and other threats to political and religious freedom.

Michael Schuck
Director, Loyola University Joan & Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage

"Indonesia is a particularly interesting case, at least for Catholicism because it represents only 3% of the population of Indonesia. So democracy and democratic freedoms are very important for that minority group.”

In the United States alone, there are 28 colleges that belong to the Jesuit Order. Many of them work with local communities in charity and different outreach programs.
They note that one of the biggest problems in the US is number of people that are put in prison and trying to successfully introduce them back into society.

Prof. William O'Neal
Santa Clara University (USA)

"We have the largest rate of incarceration in the world. Over 2 million people are currently incarcerated and then when we disaggregate that for race and ethnicity, 1 in 10 Africa American males for instance between about 19 and 25 are in prison or fall under our correctional system.”

Professor O'Neal works with prisoners and victims of crime and when possible tries to get them together so that amends can be made.

Prof. William O'Neal
Santa Clara University (USA)

"Prisoners themselves were gathered together to recognize first they are responsible for what they have done, see what kind of reconciliation can be affected with victims where possible and a way of both acknowledging their guilt but also their fundamental humanity.”

These Jesuits each presented their work after a three year study of democratization and culture. Their hope is to offer a Catholic response to each of these different situations to find the best solution possible.

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