Weekly Reflection from CPLO and the Jesuit Institute Week of 31 October 2016

by Russell Pollitt SJ

“Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.” – Pope Francis

One of the challenges South Africa faces, if not the challenge, is how to deal with systemic inequality and poverty. Often these are found in structures and, structures we know, do not change easily. Yet, if we are going to begin to deal with massive problems that South Africa faces, be that unemployment or the crisis in higher education for example, we can no longer simply use the ‘Band-Aid’ approach. There needs to be courage, generosity and goodwill to tackle the systemic issues which, at this stage, are still not being addressed. In other words, we need to have the prophetic courage to face-up to the root causes of what has brought us to where we are.

This will demand conversion: conversion of attitudes, conversion of minds, conversion of standards of living. It will demand, ultimately, a conversion of hearts. Do we have faith and courage to allow our hearts to be converted? This will demand nothing less than a ‘holy boldness’.


Lord God

Give us the courage and strength we need to face up to the deep systemic issues we face as a  nation.

Remove the fear of conversion from our hearts.

Give us the same prophetic boldness as the prophets from of old.



Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
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