A remarkable meeting of all branches of the Dominican Family took place in Salamanca from 1st to 5th September in this, the Order’s 800th Jubilee year, to “reflect on how our Dominican Family can renew its mission through the promotion and defence of human rights”.
Two hundred friars, sisters, lay people, including representatives of the youth movement, nuns and priest associates listened intently to an array of speakers, including Brother Bruno Cadoré, Master of the Order, discussed passionately in the group work and then synthesised what had been discerned in a series of commitments at the end.
The mission of justice and peace as constitutive to the preaching of the Gospel should be embraced as an integral part of our Dominican charism and Catholic Social Teaching and the defence of human rights should be integrated into all aspects of formation of the Dominican Family, including, of course, the laity. A study of Laudato Si’ is recommended as a means to teach an integral ecology that combines the wellbeing of human persons with the wellbeing of all Creation.
The Salamanca Process which calls for a synergy between the Dominican intellectual and apostolic life by directing study and research and ultimately action towards addressing the challenges the world faces should be adopted and promoted.
There were calls to improve communication and structural networks that would enable collaboration at all levels of our mission and to help the Dominican Family to work together to address the root causes of injustice.
At the global level, we called for a strengthening of the Dominican presence at the United Nations. Dominican work and action at the grassroots level can bring the voices and stories of those whose human rights are abused to the notice of the highest levels of the UN, humanising the situations by putting names and faces to those who suffer.
We want also to be in solidarity with brothers and sisters whose mission experience is difficult and dangerous and support those who take prophetic stands against sinful structures of power that oppress people and violate the whole of Creation. We do this following in the footsteps of, among others, our brothers Francisco de Vitoria, recognised as the father of international law.
Lastly, this agenda will be brought into the Congress on Mission to be held in January 2017 in the Angelicum in Rome, being the conclusion to the discernment process of this year of Jubilee. In all this, we believe that the Holy Spirit who has inspired us in these common understandings will empower us to shape a new future for the Order and renew its role in replacing suffering with mercy and justice in the world.