Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Personal Conversion Not Enough For Irish Jesuit

Jesus: Social Revolutionary?
Jesuit priest and leading social justice campaigner, Fr Peter McVerry, has called on the Christian churches to look afresh at the social implications of the life and message of Jesus. Speaking at the launch of his new book: Jesus: Social Revolutionary?

Fr McVerry said: "For me, the life and work of Jesus should mean that a huge commitment to social justice should be at the heart of all the Christian churches preach and do. However, it appears to me that the Churches' emphasis on personal conversion fails to go beyond the personal, to emphasise the radical economic, social and political consequences of such conversion."

Explaining the background to the book,

Fr McVerry said: "I decided to write this book because for me the gospels are extraordinarily radical. The Jesus I find there is an extremely attractive person but he is hard-hitting, pulls no punches. Jesus was scathing of the inequalities which existed in the society of his own time and was very critical of the way the weak and vulnerable were regarded and treated by his society. His vision for a society of equality and inclusiveness is hugely relevant for Irish society, and for societies of every time and place."

The book was launched jointly in Dublin by Bishop Willie Walsh, and broadcaster and journalist, Vincent Browne. Speaking at the launch, Mr Browne said: "This is a different and interesting account of Jesus and the Jesus Story." The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, where Fr McVerry is based, has established a special website to allow readers of the book share their reactions with the author and with one another. The website also contains extracts from the book and interviews with Fr McVerry. See www.jcfj.ie/jesussocialrevolutionary Jesus: Social Revolutionary? is published by Veritas. Peter McVerry is a Jesuit priest who has spent many years working with homeless young people. In 1979 he set up a hostel for homeless boys. Four years later he established the Arrupe Society, now known as the Peter McVerry Trust, to provide accommodation and support for young people. Based at the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice in Upper Sherrard Street, Dublin, Peter's work with and campaigning on behalf of troubled young people has made him one of the most prophetic voices in Ireland today.

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