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CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES FOR GLOBAL CATHOLICISM
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Published Date : 2021-06-15
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History in the Age of Post-Truth


By: Pedro Rodríguez López, SJ

When the last troops of the army of Philip VI left Calais, the city had no choice but to surrender its keys in the hope that the lives of its inhabitants would be spared in recognition of the heroism shown during the siege. However, England was eager to reward the hours and lives of its men spent in that campaign, so it had no intention of leaving without a tribute of blood. Although some of his men tried to convince...


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‘Fratelli Tutti’ and ‘Ubuntu’ on Cosmological Friendship


By: Elias Opongo, SJ

Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti has a number of parallels with the African ethic of Ubuntu. Published in October 2020, the encyclical has drawn attention to the social consciousness on solidarity between different members of society based on social-interdependence. The African concept of Ubuntu largely refers to inter-connectedness within humanity and between its members, and asserts that “my humanity finds its fundamental definition through your humanity.” This definition of Ubuntu is founded on three fundamental values. First, that humanity is...


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‘The Burghers of Calais’


By: Claudio Zonta SJ

Los burgueses de Calais, la última frontera, by Spanish director Jesús Armesto – winner of the SAMIFO prize at the 11th Mental Health Film Festival “Lo Spiraglio” – is an intense and poetic documentary about the condition of migrants stuck in transit at the mouth of the Eurotunnel. These people are confined, as if in limbo, in the so-called “jungle,” near Calais, in Northern France. The title refers to the sculpture by the famous artist Auguste Rodin, in homage to...


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Franciscan Influences on Saint Ignatius of Loyola


By: Pedro de Leturia, SJ

St. Ignatius of Loyola’s devotion to St. Peter is fairly well known, but few know that at the time of his conversion, St. Francis of Assisi was for him the most familiar of saints, as Franciscan experiences had marked his boyhood in Azpeitia (1491-1507), the youthful years spent at the court of Germaine de Foix in Arévalo (1507-16), and those lived in service with the Duke of Nájera, viceroy of Navarre (1517-21).[1] Childhood in Azpeitia Let us begin with Azpeitia....


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Madness and Creativity


By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet / are of imagination all compact.” This famous claim from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a sort of self-diagnosis of the possible relationship between madness and artistic creativity. It is a relationship that also evidences the structural ambiguity of imagination, poised between these two often coexisting conditions. Creativity, especially if we consider its many achievements, seems at first glance antithetical to madness. Even in the mystery of its appearance, to bear fruit...


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‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Piano Variations


By: Claudio Zonta SJ

Jesus Christ Superstar came into being in 1970, written by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. It remains famous for the 1973 film version directed by Norman Jewison. Stefano Bollani has reinterpreted on piano the original score for symphony orchestra, choir, rock band and solo voices. The title, in fact, specifies that they are piano variations, so it is not a transcription for piano but a free interpretation on a predetermined narrative structure. Bollani has stripped away the...


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Conservative Russia


By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

“Russia needs to be frozen”: these words, which are attributed to a 19th century thinker and also to a government official, best express the current intentions of those wielding power and of conservative ideologues in Russia. During the inauguration of a monument dedicated to Czar Alexander III – who on March 13, 1881, had succeeded the reformer Alexander II, killed by leftist terrorists – Putin claimed  that he himself had given Russia 13 years of peace, not by making concessions,...


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Jacob and Esau Embrace: An Orthodox Rabbinic Declaration on Christianity


By: Drew Christiansen SJ

One of the profoundest achievements of the Second Vatican Council was the positive shift in Catholic relations with Judaism, and, in the decades following, the flourishing of those relationships with a steady flow of documents, encounters and exchanges.[1] In October 1960, Saint John XXIII anticipated this epochal reconciliation with his greeting to an American Jewish delegation, “I am Joseph, your brother” (Gen 45:4). Just a month before, Saint John had received Augustin, Cardinal Bea’s suggestion to incorporate relations with Jews...


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The Uncertainty of Pandemic


By: Cristian Peralta, SJ

The silent spread of Covid-19 took local and international authorities by surprise. Its arrival highlighted the scandalous absence of effective policies for the prevention and management of contagious diseases, the enormous inequalities that exist in the world, and the lack of coordination of health strategies on a global scale.[1] The threat of the invisible and unknown virus has sown fear among populations, bewilderment and a profound feeling of vulnerability. We have all begun to realize with unusual clarity how fragile...


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Forging our Culture: Ignatius, Luther, Charles V and Magellan in the year 1521


By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

The 16th century marks the beginning of the Modern Age. In the transition between the Middle Ages and the modern world, a series of completely new developments occurred almost simultaneously: the invention of printing, the discovery of the New World, gunpowder, a new way of keeping time (mechanical clocks), of experiencing it, and the relationship with money (“time is money!”), the development of banking, insurance and, above all, a new awareness of the identity and dignity of the human person....


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Theological and Anthropological Consequences of Environmental Damage.An African reflects


By: Wilfred Sumani, SJ

“We cannot fully know ourselves without first knowing the nature of all living creatures,” wrote Ambrose of Milan in the fourth century.[1] Three centuries earlier, Paul had drawn a line from creation to the Creator: “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made” (Rom 1:20). If we put these two affirmations together, we can surmise that creation mediates both knowledge...


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Contemporary Challenges for Global Catholicism


By: Thomas P. Rausch, SJ

Jesuit Father Karl Rahner was one of the first to recognize that the Second Vatican Council had transformed the western Catholic Church into a world Church: “For the first time a world-wide Council with a world-wide episcopate came into existence and functioned independently.”[1] Bishops from non-western countries were certainly present at Vatican I, but they were largely missionary bishops of European and North American origin. At Vatican II, the bishops came from 116 countries, most of them native born: 36...


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