In both of the reading for this week, there were two words that stood out more boldly than any other: justice and “solidarity.” These works have different religious affiliations, audiences, and aims, yet there are similarities at the very core. King and Kolvenbach have similar opinions as to the responsibilities of men when they are dealing with injustice and the key to this is solidarity.
King starts off by responding to those who have criticized his methods as “unwise and untimely” but his response is that, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (King). While King remonstrates those who would argue the need to “wait,” Kolvenbach highlights that part of the Jesuit identity is promoting justice because “Injustice is rooted in a spiritual problem, and its solution requires a spiritual conversion of each one’s heart and a cultural conversion of our global society so that humankind, with all the powerful means at its disposal, might exercise the will to change the sinful structures afflicting our world” (Kolvenbach 33). Before this, he states that injustice is not part of the natural order of things, but something that men have created. King and Kolvenbach both recognize that because men have created injustice, they have also created the need to correct it.
What this means is that, similar to King’s former statement, injustice towards anyone is a threat to everyone’s justice. This is where the solidarity and mutuality come into play. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. laments towards the end of his letter that southern churches weren’t more supportive of the African-American cause. This is the exact opposite of Jesuit solidarity and King’s vision of mutuality in which, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny” (King). The church Kolvenbach is describing would be obligated to have banded together with King and his civil disobedience movement because he believes, “it is the nature of every university to be a social force, and it is the calling of a Jesuit university to take conscious responsibility for being such a force for faith and justice”(Kolvenbach 40).
In order to be a force for faith and justice, a person needs to be aware of who they are and how they fit into the world. Then, it is necessary to desire the same standard of living for others that you would want for yourself. It all comes down to loving your neighbor as much or more than you love yourself.