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PANDEMIC AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION
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Published Date : 2020-06-15
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A Time of Leprosy: Contagion and healing in the Bible


By: Pino Stancari, SJ

Falling into impurity Leprosy, like all diseases, marks the partial fall of a sick person into the sphere of impurity. The “impure” is the most elementary form of what Israel perceives as abominable to the Lord, because it contradicts life. While it awaits with hope that God’s “holiness” will finally come to encompass all profane impurity in the glory of God’s presence, Israel fears the threatening pressure of a deep evil that invades the world and penetrates even the innermost...


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Popular Theology and Communication


By: Paul A. Soukup, SJ

Lynn Schofield Clark’s study, From Angels to Aliens, explores how teens seek and explore spiritual and religious identities, often drawing on narratives, images and characters from popular culture, i.e. those artistic expressions of various kinds that have had mass diffusion since the second half of the 20th century.[1] The teenage years, perhaps more than other moments in our lives, mark a time of exploration of identity and a time of finding oneself within peer groups. Clark noted how teens drew...


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China’s Great Catholic Educator, Ma Xiangbo and The Jesuits


By: You Guo Jiang, SJ

The context Ma Xiangbo was born on April 17, 1840, into a wealthy Catholic family in Dantu County, Jiangsu Province. He was baptized when he was one month old and grew up in a strict tradition of the Catholic faith. He was also educated in the Chinese classics in traditional private schools. At the age of 12, Ma visited his married sister in Shanghai and was amazed at the level of development of the city. He asked to stay in...


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The Global Economic Crisis


By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

Since last December, a new coronavirus, Covid-19, has been putting our lives at risk. At the same time, it has paralyzed most of our productive systems, whose survival is now under threat. This unprecedented health emergency has triggered a very serious economic crisis, the depth of which will be determined by the duration of the pandemic. A deep and rapid recession Given the non-negotiable priority of human life, it is undeniable that defeating the pandemic comes first. The challenge we...


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Is the Virus a Punishment from God?


By: David Neuhaus, SJ

“'When evening had come' (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost....


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Revisiting the Common Good in the Digital Age


By: Julio L. Martínez, SJ

The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Full Flow In this epochal change that we characterize as the “digital revolution,” not only digital technologies but also physical and biological technologies all converge. This contributes to a cultural transformation of enormous moment. Our ways of life, work and relationships are changing. The processes underway – let alone their dizzying speed – are probably without parallel in those of other eras. Not that there were fewer problems before, but there were more certainties and...


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From Distraction to Dedication: An Invitation to the Center


By: Adolfo Nicolás, SJ

Note: Some years ago, during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Father General Adolfo Nicolás sketched points for a possible letter to the Society. Although he never wrote the letter, he did share these points with a few friends. The following text, while still rough and informal, expresses clearly the direction of his thinking. With the permission of Father Nicolás, we share it now. For some time we religious have wondered about our life in the Church and the power...


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The Option for the ‘Logos’ in the Pontificate of Francis


By: Andreas Lind, SJ

Introduction Addressing the members of the European Parliament on November 25, 2014, Pope Francis used an image suggested by the famous frescoes painted by Raphael in one of the Stanze di Raffaello in the Vatican. The School of Athens consists of a meeting between several pagan philosophers, from Greek antiquity until the time of the highpoint of Muslim scholarship, indicated by the presence of Averroes. The pope stated that Plato, with his finger pointing toward the sky, and Aristotle, with...


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Digital Celebrations


By: Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ

With the advent of Covid-19, Facebook and similar digital platforms seem to have become liturgical spaces. Every kind of celebration is transmitted through them: “home-made” liturgies are held, retreat houses offer online activities, spiritual assistance is offered through a computer screen and so on. The coronavirus crisis is reinforcing a trend that has been going on for years. In the lives of many Christians, the digital environment has become a stable presence. More and more people are praying while listening...


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Erich Przywara: God ‘always greater and greater’


By: Paul Gilbert, SJ

Erich Przywara was born to a Polish father and a German mother in 1889 in Katowice, a city that was German at the time, but it has been Polish since 1921. For this reason from his youth he came to know a tension the like of which he would face all his life, recognizing that in principle opposite poles are not enemies, but co-presences. As a Christian, a reader of Saint Paul and a Jesuit, Przywara strove to reconcile many...


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An interview with Fr. Adolfo Nicolás


By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

The General Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome, in Borgo Santo Spirito is undergoing renovations in preparation for the the 36th General Congregation, to begin in October (2016), called to elect the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, the present General, also had to move from the fourth to the third floor, in a small room, waiting to leave Rome. In his letter of May 20, 2014, addressed to the whole Society, he...


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Popular Marian Piety


By: Diego Fares

The volume María - Iglesia. Madre del pueblo misionero[1] is a “summa of popular Mariology,”[2] as the Argentinean theologian Carlos Galli states in his preface. Its author, Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 17, 1971. Ordained priest in 2001, he was one of the two editorial secretaries of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, held at the Marian shrine of Aparecida in 2007. There he met...


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Faith in the Time of Covid-19: Ecclesial and pastoral reflection


By: Bishop Daniele Libanori, SJ

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness” (Isa 43:19). This text from Isaiah seems to me the right key to start a conversation.[1] I think it is vital, though not easy, to speak to each other and to people, employing the words of God so that our voices do not become lost in a chorus of broken exchanges. I am convinced that...


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The Marshall Plan: One way to deal with the coronavirus crisis


By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Once the Second World War ended in Europe with victory for the Allies, the crisis in relations between the new superpowers – the United States and the Soviet Union, who had fought together to defeat Nazism – began as early as April 1945. The reason was the establishment of a communist government in Poland, which led the Americans to accuse the USSR of violating the joint commitments made shortly before in Yalta, where “The Big Three” – the heads of...


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Pandemic and Freedom of Religion


By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Followers of all religions have found themselves in an unprecedented situation because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, believers of the monotheistic faiths were unable to celebrate with their own communities in the time-honored way the great feasts that fell in April: the Jewish Passover, the Catholic Easter, the Orthodox Easter, and Ramadan. The reason is they were prevented by rules set by the governments of many countries around the world to slow down the spread of the highly contagious...


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