Drawing on the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition, Dr Jacobs-Vandegeer created a framework that not only positions Mercy Partners to reflect constructively on their contribution to the common good, but one which provides a crucial starting point for thinking theologically about that organisation’s role as one of the new public juridic person (PJP) entities in Australian society.
Aiming to do more than just communicate the PJP status to member ministries, the Council decided to revisit the mission statement and develop a formation program aligned with Mercy Partners’ strategic goals and its vision of a distinctive contribution to the life of the Australian Church.
Dr Jacobs-Vandegeer commented that “the framework makes an important intellectual contribution to how Mercy Partners as a community of caregivers in healthcare, education and aged care services, lives out its commitment to human dignity and the common good.” The framework has already informed the Council’s formation activities, and will be integrated with the formation program for all member ministries over the next several years. In commending the work of Dr Jacobs-Vandegeer, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy Professor Dermot Nestor said, “Chris’s work on the Theological Framework on behalf of Mercy Partners represents not just the quality of the research and scholarship that defines the Faculty and its staff but the role of theology and philosophy as inherently practical guides to some of the most fundamental and challenging questions of our time.”
Director of Formation for Mercy Partners, Dr Caroline Thompson, said “Mercy Partners has been delighted with the Theological Framework which has informed and enhanced formation planning and resource development.”
Dr Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer is a researcher in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at ACU’s Melbourne campus and Director of Stakeholder Relations, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. His primary areas of research interest are the theology of grace, interreligious dialogue and the thought and legacy of Bernard Lonergan.