Part of the transformational experience that is Jesuit education is to start young men and women on an early path to awareness of social issues, current affairs, and how to become advocates for social justice and positive change in the world. At Brophy, the annual Summit for Human Dignity (modeled after those most often seen at colleges and universities) highlights an issue that is particularly relevant and informs students on its nuances, as well as its social and political ramifications.

Brophy hopes to graduate young men of conscience, conviction, and compassion who will one day use their voices, as well as their votes, to influence and effect beneficial change in the world for those most in need of justice and equality.

Summit on Human Dignity - Spring 2017
We, the People: Inclusive and Faithful Citizenship in Modern Democracy

For the past 20 years, the Catholic Bishops of the U.S. and around the world have been clear and vocal as to how Catholics and other people of faith can best steward democracy as a form of government, whether as citizens or public servants. In an effort to encourage a balance of freedom with responsibility, policy with the common good, and security with protection under the law, the Catholic bishops have offered a variety of formal statements that outline how "Faithful Citizenship" can be exercised in the face of political platforms and realities that collide with essential beliefs. For more information on this conversation, visit the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The U.S. election cycle has made these issues especially relevant. The bishops believe trends in political and public life in many of the world's democracies are troubling. They speak of public moral issues, extreme nationalism, exclusion or harm of groups in society based on race or religion, the influence of money and corporate lobbying on policy, misleading media and source overload, and the fractured state of civil discourse.

Though we will know who our next elected officials will be by spring, these issues will continue to be critical and will provide valuable formation for our students.

How is this a human dignity issue? Here are some concerns to be considered:
  • Are many citizens in modern democracies basically "voiceless?" Though they can vote, are other powerful forces holding all the cards?
  • How does one form and inform their conscience to fully and respectfully participate in democracy? How can candidates and elected officials promote human dignity in their platforms?
  • Who are the main victims of the corruption and lack of integrity often seen in political life? Is government and policy focused on the common good?
  • How do the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and law uphold and protect dignity? Is our three-branch system broken in a way that allows people to suffer?
  • When does inclusion and belief collide in a free society?
We look forward to considering all this, and more, at next spring's summit. If anyone within, or outside of our community, knows of great resources we might consider, please contact Paul Fisko who heads Brophy's Office of Faith and Justice.