Issue 1705

Fifty years on from Populorum Progressio: The Fulfillment of its Prophecy

The world of Bretton Woods The encyclical Populorum Progressio (PP) was published on March 26th, 1967, just as the decade of the sixties was coming to an end. It was an extraordinary time. After rebuilding the wreckage left after World War II, national economies, especially in Europe, were suddenly and steadily growing. At that point, it was becoming clear how timely the agreements were that had been reached at Bretton Woods (New Hampshire, U.S.A.) to establish a postwar, international economic order with the creation of three supranational institutions: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the area of finance, the World...

By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

The French Presidential Election and the Future of Europe

In the end, Emmanuel Macron emerged victorious from the French presidential election, winning the run-off with 66.1 percent of the vote, against the 33.9 percent obtained by his opponent, Marine Le Pen. The new French president won 20,703,631 votes, while the National Front leader received 10,637,183. At over 25 percent, abstention reached its highest level since 1969, while blank or invalid votes reached a record high at 12 percent. While the subsequent June legislative elections are unfolding, it is important to look back at the presidential race and the phases that led to the run-off, to understand how the development...

By: Marc Rastoin, SJ

Christians and Muslims in Tomorrow’s Europe

On May 6, 2016, Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London by 57 per cent of the electorate, making him the politician with the third largest personal democratic mandate in Europe. Much of the publicity that attended his victory focused on his religious affiliation; he was now, after all, Europe’s highest profile Muslim politician. Although some right-wing commentators predictably and offensively attributed the result to a pre-emptive cringe before a growing Muslim population, most saw it as a token of London’s credentials as a multi-cultural and multi-religious city at ease with itself, something to be celebrated just as it had...

By: Damian Howard, SJ

Astrobiology and Us: Social and political implications of a “new” science

During the academic year 2015/16, an international group of twelve professors, including ten theologians, sponsored by the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton (New Jersey, USA), reflected on astrobiology – a rapidly developing field of interdisciplinary scientific research – and in particular on its social implications.1 Responsive interaction between theologians and astrobiologists allowed the group to achieve two objectives. Firstly, the astrobiologists enabled the theologians to acquire specific knowledge of this new area of research. Secondly, together they were able to define some of the social implications of astrobiology and make some suggestions for addressing them. With the shared intention...

By: Andrea Vicini, SJ

Happiness: A Delightful Foretaste of Eternity

A universal experience that eludes definition Happiness is hard to define precisely. It has a vast array of synonyms with slightly different meanings that can take us in different directions (wellbeing, satisfaction, gratification, pleasure, joy, contentment). At the same time, people of all ages and cultures are familiar with it; happiness is understood all over the world. Those who live outside of their native country and know at least two languages give similar answers on respective questionnaires, even if the idioms differ greatly (say, English and Chinese, for example). The same situation is found in countries where many languages are...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

Benedict XVI and Relativism in the Life of the Church

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s homily during the Mass for electing a Roman Pontiff1 on April 18, 2005, gave a clear description of the Church’s doctrinal situation in recent years. He called attention to the problem of relativism and outlined the journey that the Church would have to take in order to avoid being distracted by ideologies and remain docile to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Basing himself on the text of Ephesians 4:11-16, he noted that “having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed...

By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ

Mission in Secularized Japan

Analyzing the Japanese words used to indicate the concept of “mission” may help to better facilitate understanding of what mission should be, the perception of which has become even more acute over the last 50 years. In fact, every definition entails a model or a paradigm of how to carry out a missionary activity. Vatican Council II introduced a change in the paradigm of mission and how to carry it out. Our aim here is to offer a contribution on the topic of “mission” by presenting several innovative considerations. A change in the paradigm, beyond terminology Nowadays, the word “mission”...

By: Shun'ichi Takayanagi, SJ

Corruption that Kills: Floribert Bwana Chui’s story

The story of Floribert Bwana Chui, a young Congolese customs officer, is the story of a man assassinated for not having succumbed to corruption.1 Looking at his life and death helps us to understand new forms of martyrdom: this is a silent sacrifice far from the interest of the media that disturbs the social and political life of those countries where corruption has become endemic. This was repeated by Pope Francis during his trip to Africa in 2015 when a young woman asked him, “Can corruption be justified by the fact that everyone is corrupt? How can we be Christians...

By: Francesco Occhetta, SJ
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