Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

September 2023 Issue
‘The Water Has Been Agitated’

Pope Francis visited Portugal for the 37th World Youth Day, from August 2-6, 2023. The Pontiff called on young people to look again at the ocean before their eyes, then to reflect on the immense spaces of the soul and the meaning of life in the world. Francis recalled the poet Pessoa, for whom “to be dissatisfied is to be human.” Aware of this restlessness, he reminds all of us the Church today is called to bring the inclusive welcome of the Gospel.

 

‘The Water Has Been Agitated’ is an account by our director, Antonio Spadaro, of Pope Francis’ meeting with Jesuits in Portugal, while visiting Lisbon for World Youth Day. The conversation was spontaneous, free and direct. Together they discussed generational challenges, the prophetic witness of religious, intra-ecclesial tensions and the meaning of doctrinal development. The group also dealt with issues concerning human sexuality – including homosexuality and transsexuality – the Church of the future and synodality. The pope deepened the meaning of his call for there to be room in the Church for “everyone, everyone, everyone.”

 

Today we are accustomed to the word ‘Christian’, its origin lost in the mists of time. “Christian”: the beautiful name you bear by Giancarlo Pani reconstructs the history of the name through the New Testament, the testimony of the pagans, second-century Christian sources, and recent historiography. It is difficult to establish its genesis, in the New Testament it occurs only three times; is never found in Paul nor in the Apostolic Fathers (except Ignatius of Antioch). In any case, once it was coined, Christians themselves adopted the “beautiful name” as a source of honor.

 

Earlier in the year Pope Francis dedicated 14 weekly catecheses to discernment. Using simple and profound language, he presented St. Ignatius of Loyola as an example and draws on his teachings to recall and explain the principles, elements and practice of spiritual discernment. ‘Listening To One’s Heart’: Discernment in Pope Francis’ catechesis presents an effective guide to this practice. Nuno da Silva Gonçalves explains how these lessons are indispensable for those who want to read their lives and take them into their own hands in order to make choices that flow from a personal relationship with the Lord.

 

Some form of synodal decision-making is even more necessary today, in light of current social and cultural expectations for dialogue and participation. In Episcopal Collegiality and Synodality, T. Howland Sanks argues that the Second Vatican Council’s affirmation of episcopal collegiality was intended to have continuity with the long tradition of synodality in the Church. It is a renewal of that tradition and the establishment of a Synod of Bishops. He suggests we need a new way of imagining our life together, a new social imaginary.

 

July 27, 2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the armistice agreement that established a ceasefire, but not a formal end, to the Korean War. Francis Mun-su Park details how the Catholic Church and other Christians are working for peace in Reconciliation in Korea and Northeast Asia: Faith and Realism.  Park deals with the tumultuous changes that North-South relations and policies have undergone in recent times, particularly in the context of the current crisis, which has led to a geopolitical regression toward a renewed cold war between superpowers in Northeast Asia.

 

Also in the issue:

Toward the Marseille ‘Mediterranean Meeting’. An interview with Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, Antonio Spadaro
Can Haiti Rise Again? Jean-Pierre Bodjoko
Eighty Years of Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Being and Nothingness’, Giovanni Cucci
Prigozhin and Wagner’s Rebellious March on Moscow, Giovanni Sale
‘Observing Water is an Art.’ The Bottomless Mystery in Ancient Chinese Thought, Benoît Vermander
Life and Doctrine of the Faith. A Dialogue with Víctor Manuel Fernández, Antonio Spadaro

 

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