Issue 1706

A time of Post-Truth or Post-Conscience

The term “post-truth” had no sooner been born than the Oxford English Dictionary consecrated it as “Word of the Year 2016”, defining it as “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” It is a time when information, like the rod of a pendulum, swings between “before” and “after” the truth (facts), without wanting to recognize it. The careful identification of facts, their adherence to reality, and rigorous controlling of sources have given way to a culture of post-truth. This is growing because of specific actions: hate speech, mocking...

By: Francesco Occhetta, SJ

Doctrine: At the Service of the Pastoral Mission of the Church

Saint Vincent of Lerins posed the following question in the fifth century: “Can there be progress in the religion of the Church of Christ?” Today, we can phrase the question in the following way: How is the precious deposit of faith guarded and transmitted through time? How can we speak of a “development of doctrine?” Can there be progress in the religion of the Church of Christ? Here is how the ancient author answered the question: “Certainly, and the progress can be very great indeed. Who, in fact, could have such little faith in men and be so demanding of...

By: Thomas P. Rausch, SJ

Egypt, Land of Civilizations and Alliances: Francis’ dramatic, therapeutic and prophetic journey

From the Tiber to the Nile The papal plane touched down at Cairo International Airport shortly after 2 p.m. having flown over the Nile Delta and the sandy colored houses of the Egyptian capital. In the distance, the silhouettes of the pyramids reminded the papal entourage and the journalists on board that we were about to land in a country with ancient civilization, of which the people of Egypt are the heirs. In fact, in his first speech at the University of Al-Azhar, the pope began by recalling how Egypt had a “glorious history” and evoked the “search for wisdom”...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Against the "unhappy consciousness" in Christianity

Originality of a Theological Tradition All doctrines of the faith are the result of efforts made by Christians over the centuries to counter various and varied attacks, both internal and external. Doctrine has been defined this way since the beginning. Consider the Greek Fathers Athanasius (295-373), Basil (330-379), Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390), and Gregory of Nyssa (d.394) who asserted against Arianism the Trinity of Persons and their eternal equality that is revealed through the Incarnation of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit. While they were engaged in this controversy, the Latin fathers had to face directly the...

By: Dominique Bertrand, SJ

Fan Shouyi: The first Chinese person to tell of the West 

Many people are familiar with European missionaries like Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) who served as cultural bridges between China and the West. Not only did they bring Western knowledge and Christianity to China, translating with Chinese literati important works of philosophy, theology and science. They also brought knowledge of China to the West, through letters, reports, books about China, and notably through their Latin translation of the Confucian books in the “Confucius Sinarum Philosophus” (1687). In the last 30 years, scholarship has come to stress the role of Chinese individuals and local communities in this cultural transmission. I would like to...

By: Thierry Meynard, SJ

Fifty years after the Six-Day War

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War of 1967 that was fought between the State of Israel and the neighboring Arab countries (Egypt, Syria and Jordan), it makes sense to retrace the events that led to a conflict that altered the modern history of the Middle East and marked the emergence of Israel as a true regional power. In the Arab world, this event is considered a defeat not only in military terms, but also in political and cultural terms. Some have even spoken of “the Arab unhappiness syndrome”1 and the rancor toward Zionists and their...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Russia between Europe and Asia: Looking East in search of itself?

The first sovereign of independent Russia, Ivan III, brought from what was once Byzantium not only his  wife, but also, again freed from the Turks, the double-headed eagle, emblem and expression of an idea. Although various Eastern European countries consider themselves in some way heirs to this imperial ideal, nowhere has the tension between East and West been as strong as in Russia, except perhaps in Turkey itself. After Peter the Great, the double-headed eagle looked more and more to the West. Perhaps  the elite perceived itself in the same way as today’s small group of pro-Western intellectuals. But how...

By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

A Cultural Spring for Iranian Women Artists

The narration of conflicts is entrusted to geopolitical analysis and to news reports: our days are crowded with words and images, causing a sort of numbness to tragedy by endless repetition. But there is a lens capable of showing us facts and interpretations, an upside-down view of things that crosses the boundary between life and its representation: art, and those forms of artistic resistance that give a voice and form to the unsaid, to things whispered, to the implicit. They are hard-hitting statements that are sculpted, painted and shouted; they tear asunder the opaque veil of indifference. Perhaps the most...

By: Luigi Territo, SJ
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