The Heythrop Institute for Religion, Ethics and Public Life has developed an innovative way of responding to current issues. This is its "Rapid Response": a web page where members of the Institute offer immediate comments and reflections . The latest topic is God and the American elections Latest Rapid Response (22 October 2004)
Other Rapid Responses so far are:
15 October 2004– religious values in politics and the importance of intellectuals in public life
8 October 2004 - 'Controlled Immigration' - how words influence our ethical response and the need for modern states to find a rhetoric and set of practices which express the values of hospitality and generosity
1 October 2004 - Redemptive Violence, The Democratic Deficit and The Dilemmas Of Leadership And Trust
The Institute was officially launched on Thursday 30 September, with an appeal for Catholics to become more involved in politics and engaged in the democratic process, and thereby become more active in human rights by Professor Conor Gearty, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics.
The Director of the new Institute, Dr James Hanvey SJ, said the Church had 'an extraordinary opportunity' in the current social climate in which people are searching for meaning. 'It demands of us a creative and imaginative effort no less than that faced by the Church in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The task is twofold: how to find an effective voice in the public sphere and how to deepen our faith and understanding so that the practice of Christian life is nourished and secured.'
The Institute was established in 2003 as a centre for rigorous and creative reflection on contemporary issues. Its purpose is to be both a resource and a stimulus in formulating Christian responses to the many complex questions that arise . The members of the Institute specialise in systematic theology, spirituality, political philosophy, economics, social ethics and social theory.