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THE “AXIAL AGE” AND THE INVENTION OF A SHARED FUTURE
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Published Date : 2021-10-14
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“Freedom Scares Us”: Pope Francis’ conversation with Slovak Jesuits 


By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Bratislava, Sunday September 12, 2021, 5:30 p.m. – Pope Francis has just concluded a meeting in the Nunciature with representatives of the Ecumenical Council of Churches. There is time to arrange the chairs after the previous encounter, then 53 Slovak Jesuits take their places. Francis enters and greets them: “Good evening and welcome! Thank you for this visit. I didn’t know there were so many Jesuits here in Slovakia. The ‘plague’ is spreading everywhere.” The group bursts into laughter. Francis...


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The Mysticism of Ignatius of Loyola


By: Brian O’Leary, SJ

A soldier saint or a mystic? Over the centuries since 1556, the year of his death, Ignatius has been interpreted through a variety of images. The leading image for most of this period was that of the soldier saint. This image drew partly on Ignatius’ family connection with the warlike minor aristocracy of the Basque country. Linked with this was his upbringing in the chivalric culture of the day that included training in the art of warfare. Then there was...


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Combatting Throwaway Culture


By: Wilfred Sumani, SJ

Introduction In the 2014 drama film The Good Lie, Jerry and Mike, two of the “lost boys of Sudan,” land a job at a grocery shop where they experience a culture shock as they watch basketfuls of food being tossed into the bin. “Isn’t there someone who might want or need this food?” Jerry quizzes his boss. One day, Jerry stops a homeless woman from dumpster-diving and gives her, instead, fresh food from the grocery, a gesture that irks the...


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Watteau’s Journeys Into the Impossible


By: Teodor Lucian Lechintan, SJ

The 300th anniversary of Antoine Watteau’s death (July 18, 1721) passed almost unnoticed. The world of this artist, with its comic actors and theatrical performers, is best revealed by his atelier. The image of this place, handed down to us by a contemporary, is in some ways shocking. The painter “rarely cleaned his palette and often went several days without replenishing it. The vase of grease oil, of which he made so much use, was full of dirt and dust...


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Law and Good Ecclesial Government: The Vademecum for cases of sexual abuse and the reform of canonical criminal law


By: Federico Lombardi, SJ

In the early months of 2020 I wrote an article about the protection of minors and vulnerable persons in the light of regulations that had been promulgated after the Meeting of Bishops and Superiors General convened by Pope Francis in February 2019. At the time I highlighted that these were very important steps forward, but that in order to respond to expectations two further actions were still awaited: the publication of a “Vademecum” for bishops and superiors and the promulgation...


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Thomas Aquinas on Justice


By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

The historical background The ancients were well aware of the many aspects of justice. Reading their texts, one is struck by the great richness and complexity of their perspectives. The very root of the Greek word dikaiosynē (justice), dikē, refers to a multiplicity of operational meanings that concern, first of all, the relationship with God and the government of the self that are expressed in operational terms through directives, orders and dispositions. Dike was the mythological daughter of Jupiter and...


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The “Axial Age” and the Invention of a Shared Future


By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Even today the notion of the “Axial Age” (Achsenzeit) is the subject of heated debate.[1] Should we consider it a myth or an actual historical reality? As a first step, we should approach the concept as a tool for analysis rather than as a historical reality firmly anchored in time (such as a dynasty or the Industrial Revolution, for example). Karl Jaspers introduced the expression Axial Age in the aftermath of the Second World War.[2] The context explained both the...


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Afghanistan and the Limits of American Power


By: Drew Christiansen SJ

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the refusal of the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden, the United States of America invaded Afghanistan with the aim of putting an end to the Taliban regime and expelling al Qaeda from the territory. Within three months Kabul was conquered and a transition government, led by Hamid Karzai, was established. He then won the first presidential elections on October 9, 2004. Ashraf Ghani succeeded him. A considerable NATO contingent remained...


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The People’s Faith


By: Daniel Cuesta Gómez, SJ

Popular religiosity rarely leaves people indifferent. For some it is a great opportunity for the Church as well as a sign of her vitality, showing how the desire for God is present in our society. For others, on the contrary, it manifests the obvious decadence of a Church no longer able to transmit the profound truth of the Gospel, and so generating substitutes that distance people from the message of Jesus Christ, leading them to superstition, heterodoxy and superficiality. Be...


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Correcting the Genome with CRISPR: Ethical challenges


By: Andrea Vicini, SJ

The year 2020 was dominated by the Covid-19 global pandemic with its incredible cost in human lives and multiple economic, social and spiritual consequences. For those involved in genetic research, and particularly in the area of gene editing techniques, 2020 will be remembered also for the prestigious international recognition – the Nobel Prize – and the initial clinical successes of the genome editing technique called “CRISPR-Cas9.”[1] Any comment on these achievements needs to take into account some ethical considerations. In...


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Afghani Idealism and the Games of the Great Powers


By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

July 4th –  United States Independence Day – could have become an important date in Afghan history as well. On the previous Friday night, July 2nd, the Americans abandoned Bagram airport without notifying their Afghan allies, leaving behind a pile of military equipment that they had intentionally destroyed. They also cut off the electricity supply, among other measures.[1] It had been known that the Americans would shortly withdraw and it became absolutely certain after President Biden’s speech on April 14,...


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“The Center of the Church? It’s not the Church!”: Pope Francis in Budapest and Slovakia


By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

At 6:10 a.m. on September 12, 2021, a flight with the pope on board, together with, his entourage and 78 accredited journalists, took off from Fiumicino airport for Budapest, where it landed around 7:45 a.m. Thus began the 34th apostolic journey of Pope Francis. The reason for the stop in the Hungarian capital was the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, which took place on September 5-12. Originally planned for September 2020, the normal four years after the previous Congress in the...


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