Issue 1704

Catholicism in 21st Century China

Christianity first came to China over one thousand years ago but it did not last long. Alopen, a Syrian monk, introduced Nestorian Christianity in the Tang Dynasty and founded several monasteries and churches. Nestorian Christianity reemerged in the Mongol era in the early 14th century. Nestorian Christianity declined in China substantially in the mid-14th century. Roman Catholicism in China grew at the expense of the Nestorians during the late Yuan dynasty. Franciscan Bishop John of Montecorvino began his evangelization mission of the Mongols in Beijing, but his mission ceased with the end of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in 1368. With...

By: You Guo Jiang, SJ

Armed Conflicts in Africa

Observing the situation of many African states, one becomes aware of lacerated societies, or at least of societies in “high tension” where the main issue at stake is one of internal cohesion. Many states resemble aggregates of entities forced to live together while doing their utmost to affirm their own uniqueness. Thus, the political space becomes the field in which these different entities enter into competition, at times violently, endangering national unity. In particular, after the beginning of the 1990s, with the ending of the equilibrium of the Cold War, the African continent has witnessed the outbreak of a significant...

By: Arsene Brice Bado, SJ

The Mission in 17th-Century China

The mission in China in the 17th century still draws the attention of many scholars, such as historians of science, theologians and missiologists today. This mission, which in the first hundred years was predominantly led by the Jesuits, was noteworthy in several regards: the Jesuit missionaries adopted a policy of accommodation to Chinese culture: they evangelized, they propagated indirectly by using European science and technology, and adopted an attitude of toleration toward Confucian values and rites. The development of an “apostolate through books” and as a result of it the development of a local theology in China is one of...

By: Nicolas Standaert, SJ

Growing in Discernment: Aids for Growing in the Ability to Discern

In a private meeting with Polish Jesuits in Krakow, Pope Francis said: “the Church needs to grow in discernment; in her capacity to discern.”1  He emphasized the importance of priestly formation and exhorted the Jesuits to work together with seminarians, especially by “giving them what we ourselves received from Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises: the wisdom of discernment.”2 But what is discernment? There are a lot of good theoretical definitions of it. Here I simply take it to mean the capacity of our human reason to search for and find the opportune moment and the best means for realizing the good.3  On...

By: Diego Fares SJ

Europe Deserves to be Built

On March 25, in the Renaissance setting of Rome’s Campidoglio, 27 leaders of European Union countries and three representatives from its Brussels-based institutions, Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and Antonio Tajani, gathered to sign a common declaration for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome. As the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, underlined in his speech, the occasion marked how “this has been a voyage of achievements and hopes that have come to fruition, with others yet to be fulfilled,” following the “splendid obsession” of Europe’s founding fathers, expressed by the injunction “do not divide, unite.” Italian...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

The Priest and the Maturity of All Things

“The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things.” Here, I am citing Pope Francis from his encyclical Laudato Si’ (LS), n.83, and, in turn, his footnote which makes explicit reference to the origin of this thought, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard (1881-1955) was a Jesuit, anthropologist and spiritual figure of great importance. He lived through the far-reaching tensions of the complex 20th century, with its wars, ideologies and great discoveries.1  Not without miscomprehension, his life could be considered a...

By: La Civiltà Cattolica

Bob Dylan The Song is Still Blowing in the Wind

It is not an easy undertaking to size up the elusive, contradictory character of Bob Dylan. A minstrel, a poet, perhaps even a prophet, but most surely an artist who is beyond the time he is living in. This complexity is evident in Dylan’s compositional language: his songs are sometimes narrative and they nail the miseries inflicted by power with a merciless look at the world; at other times, they prove to be symbolic in an attempt to grasp the world of feelings and movements of the soul; at other times, they become spiritual and sacramental, in the intuition of...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ

Sadness: Precious Teachings from this Emotion

An outlawed feeling Sadness is certainly not a desired or attractive feeling with its dense cluster of synonyms that are difficult to separate with any precision (boredom, angst, depression). It never has been, even if it has had a certain consideration in literary and philosophical circles (think of Spleen, the meditative or melancholic sadness, of Romanticism and decadence, or of the angst of Heidegger as the cipher of human existence) and has, in general, influenced the entire history of culture and medical research in the West.[1] Starting after the Second World War, perhaps with the intention of leaving behind the...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ
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