Jesuit educational institutions explicitly commit themselves to educating students that are “committed to doing justice” (JSEA 2010) upon graduation and prepared to live lives of justice in the future. Much of contemporary Western, North American culture opposes this goal. Secularism, consumerism, hegemony of market rationality, instrumentalization of education, postmodern relativism, and radical individualism all contribute to a context of antagonism toward an Ignatian conception of justice as act and commitment. Nevertheless Jesuit schools create, implement and sustain multiple methods and programs to further this goal, always insisting that “knowledge is joined to virtue” (ICAJE 1986).
The Ignatian conception of justice, incompatible with secularism, resists reduction to a merely here-and-now, political or ideological agenda and/or method for social change. The Ignatian vision does seek societal transformation, but in and through the particular Catholic charism of the Society of Jesus. Jesuit schools exist for the service of faith “of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement” (Arrupe 1973).
They “form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God . . . men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce” (Arrupe).
Love of God and love of neighbor (expressed in acts of justice) cannot be separated.