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READING THE SIGHS AND SIGNS OF OUR TIMES
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Published Date : 2021-09-17
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The People of God as Temple


By: Joaquín Ciervide, SJ

Should one seek God in solitude or in human relationships? It is widely accepted that both ways are valid. With regard to solitude, think of the anchorites of the  early Christian era; with regard to human relationships, think of the worker priests of the 20th century. Or we can think of St. Thérèse of Lisieux as a model for contemplation and St. Francis Xavier as a model for action. There is a third possibility, which is to seek God in...


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The Elusive Hero: Narrative analysis of values in Asian films


By: Stephan Rothlin, SJ

Film forums have proven to be a fertile ground for reflection, helping us to better understand the extraordinary complexity of  the plots of some films. For over thirty years I have been engaging with people from different walks of life, in Asia and Europe, offering them workshops on Confucian ethics in which we have explored the meanings of “hero” in fictional works, such as films. By convention, the typical hero experiences adversity and challenges, adhering to values of respect, loyalty,...


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Considerations on Power and International Aid Relations


By: Michael Kelly, SJ

This present study considers international aid, that is, the institutionalized forms by which people’s conditions are improved. It examines charity systems from the point of view of political power, starting from the concept that international aid was historically born along with the appearance of the idea of public affairs and public service, in the spirit of international relations. Therefore, in this sense, aid is an element of politics, whose original scope was born out of the interaction between nations and...


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‘The Destructive Spirit’ A Reflection on Memory and Useless Literature


By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ

The reflection we present has a purely platonic intent. When we use the expression “platonic love,” we do so to refer to ideal,  not personal love. But this is not entirely accurate. For Plato, love is eros, a search for goodness and truth. This search, however, cannot exist in isolation: it is only possible through dialectics, that is, through dialogue. Moreover, it is an infinite search, because it lasts until death. So, it is rather like the paradox of Achilles...


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John Paul II and the Social Doctrine of the Church


By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

When the cardinals gathered in conclave and elected Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as the successor of St Peter on October 16, 1978, the choice was somewhat surprising. He was the first non-Italian pope since Hadrian VI (elected in 1522) and, above all, he came from Eastern Europe, from beyond the Iron Curtain, from Krakow in Poland. Few would have imagined that the new pontiff was about to bring a renewal to the Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC). A look at...


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Saint Robert Bellarmine: Servant of the Truth and Doctor of the Church


By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

Four centuries ago, on September 17, 1621, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine's earthly life ended in Rome. He was almost 79 years old and his name was known throughout Europe. In 1599, Clement VIII, during a consistory in which he announced the names of cardinals, pronounced what one might well consider an apt eulogy: “We choose one who has no equal in the Church of God as far as doctrine is concerned, and is the nephew of the excellent and most holy...


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Cultural Challenges during Vatican II


By: Bartolomeo Sorge, SJ

The early 1960s, a time of cultural upheaval The cultural challenges facing the Church and the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s did not come as a surprise.[1] They were the culmination of the long evolution of modern Western culture, the origins of which go back to the Enlightenment. These challenges had emerged with the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution and were then brought into focus in the 19th century by the great modern philosophical currents (German Idealism,...


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The Question of Vocations: Old and new issues


By: Marc Rastoin, SJ

The now clearly fragmented nature of the global Catholic world means that there are some very diverse situations regarding vocations to consecrated celibacy, both for  diocesan clergy and for those in religious life. Asia and Africa have slow but steady growth, while vocations continue to decline in the northern hemisphere and, in an almost similar way, in Latin America. Bishops, as well as superiors of religious orders, are writing letters to raise awareness of the issue.[1] Everywhere there is talk...


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The Kalmyks: Buddhists of Europe


By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

When we talk about traditional religions that have been rooted for centuries in Europe, obviously we think first of all about Christianity, Judaism, and also Islam. Buddhism is considered a religion of  South and East Asia: one immediately thinks of India, the birthplace of this religion, but also of China, Japan, Korea and their cultures, which seem quite exotic in the eyes of  Europeans. However, in Europe – if we mean Europe in a geographical sense, that is, as that...


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On Inner Abandonment – Canticle V


By: Jean-Joseph Surin

Jean-Joseph Surin (1600-65), a French Jesuit, was ordained priest in 1626. He taught in Rouen and Bordeaux and was an exorcist in Loudun. He was one of the great mystics of the 17th century. Many were influenced by him: from Bossuet to Fénelon, from Teresa of Lisieux to Raïssa Maritain. His works spread far and wide. They include The Spiritual Catechism, The Foundations of the Spiritual Life and Spiritual Canticles (1657).     I want to go out in the...


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Reading the Sighs and Signs of Our Times


By: Joseph Lobo, SJ

The concept “signs of the times” was introduced into official Catholic terminology by Pope John XXIII in the 1961 apostolic constitution Humanae Salutis (HS): “We know that the sight of these evils so depresses the minds of some people that they see nothing but darkness, which they think entirely envelops the world. We, on the other hand, love to reaffirm our unshakable confidence in the divine Savior of the human race, who has by no means abandoned the mortals he...


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