Tuesday, 9 June 2009

JPIC - now where have I heard that word before?

One of the many things that I learned on my Rome-based Craighead Institute course on leadership and spirituality is that JPIC is alive and well in the Roman Catholic Church. Many of those on the course spoke about Justice Peace and the Integrity of Creation groups in their international congregations. This struck me because in many Protestant churches this is not so much the case. It showed me just how much impact the first European Ecumenical Assembly in Basel and also the worldwide JPIC process must have had in Roman Catholic Church. It also brought home to me quite powerfully just how parochial and partial my knowledge is.
What is also interesting is how much the phrase "integrity of creation" seemed to be used by the Catholics I was with on the course. I was surprised but also pleased. I can remember how when the term first came out many conservative theologians were up in arms, saying only God had integrity and that creation could not of itself have integrity (indeed the German and French translations give slightly different renderings - Bewahrung and Sauvegarde respectively). Given what we have finally begun to understand about climate change I am very glad that it was the word "integrity" that was chosen for creation in English. What integrity have we left to creation or to the many generations who might have been able to follow on from us had we acted less carelessly?


Dr B said...

JPIC is an amazing example of what can be called long-cycle ecumenism. The links between justice, peace and the environment now seem almost commonplace, but when proposed at the WCC's Vancouver assembly this was really something new. Though the specific actions linked to the process in the 1980s the concept itself has become embedded in the worldwide Christian community, among people and groups who may never have heard of the WCC or have only the foggiest idea of what it does. It has also become embedded in the discourse of the Vatican as here where values of JPIC are seen as part of the dialogue with Islam.

Jane said...

Thanks Dr B I like the idea of Long cycle ecumenism - sounds to me like there is a paper to be written about that.

Hansuli John Gerber said...

Encouraging to hear what you report from Rome. There are a few places like that. The Ecumenical Centre is not one of them. The other thing to remember are the words before JPIC: conciliar proess. I like to think of the current efforts in those terms and was greatly encouraged by Michael Kinnamon's repeated reference to this last week in NYC.