Issue 1708

The Meaning of Francis’ International Politics

In order to trace the pope’s political map of the world and grasp the roots of his international politics, we must avoid simplification and find the right keys to interpretation.[1] It is useful to start from his biographical and cultural roots, but it is also necessary to go beyond this. In any case, we must always bear in mind that the pope’s agenda is open and that this openness is a specific characteristic of his politics. We may distinguish four aspects of the pontiff’s politics: their kerygmatic nature, their orientation towards wholeness and unity, their origin in discernment, and the...

By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ

The Love of the Lord for the Lowly

Psalm 136 recalls the Lord’s mercy in the actions of the Creator and the Savior as the sacred psalmist raises a joyful acclamation of praise for the eternal goodness of God. As we listen to the voice of God, our prayer must accompany every meditative path even when we approach biblical texts that are not actually formulas prepared for liturgical recitation. The Sacred Scriptures are only respected when we reverently open our hearts in full obedience to the Word of God so that it can penetrate us deeply as a fruitful seed and transform our consciences, making them merciful. This...

By: Pietro Bovati, SJ

Doubt: Threat or Opportunity?

An emblematic term for our era Doubt can be considered a watchword for people today. It is the premise for the construction of any solid, critical and complete thought based on reason alone without any recourse to authority or tradition that would penalize liberty or autonomy. The key philosopher of doubt is of course Descartes. According to him it is most useful because “doubt frees us from any sort of prejudice; it prepares for us an easy pathway to habituate our spirit to be detached from the senses, and lastly thanks to it we can no longer have any doubt...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

The Birth of a Pan-Asian Theology: Under the sign of harmony

Introduction Christian Churches around the world have been taking notice of the fact that the 21st century is truly the “Asian Century”; at the same time, they are also progressively recognizing the vitality and inventiveness of Asian Christian communities. In their turn, Asian theologians have been trying to articulate the nature of the experiential endeavor lived by their people in a “theology of harmony” that has been unfolding its principles and tenets over the last three to four decades. Catholic theologians, networking through the gatherings organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), have played a fundamental role in...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ


When in history populist movements return, they are like stormy waves crashing over governments and institutions. Their identities and political programs were brought into the open by the millions of votes received in the European elections of 2014 by various political forces that almost all coalesced into two groups in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, both based on anti-European and nationalist political orientations.[1] It is true, as Ralf Dahrendorf has written, that defining populism on a social level is “easy,” while “democracy is complex.” This is why Pope Francis, on his return trip from Egypt, said the following regarding populism:...

By: Francesco Occhetta, SJ

The Crisis in Burundi

It is two years now since Burundi plunged into yet another political crisis. It was sparked when the ruling party – Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie-Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) – re-nominated the incumbent president, Pierre Nkurunziza, as its candidate for the presidential elections in 2015. He was already completing the second of two terms. Demonstrators came out on the streets contesting the nomination following that April 25, 2015, announcement. The government responded by ordering the police to disperse protesters, causing injuries and deaths. More than 250,000 fled to neighboring countries; countless people were...

By: Fidèle Ingiyimbere, SJ

Science Fiction and Catholic Sensibility: One man's experience

In November 2015, Grayson Clary in The Atlantic wrote an article with the provocative title, “Why Sci-Fi Has So Many Catholics.”[1] In fact, science and science fiction can be sources of great joy, including spiritual joy, in keeping with a core principle of Jesuit spirituality: “Find God in all things.” I write as a scientist and fan of science fiction. Recently, I participated at a workshop at Notre Dame University: “Trying to Say ‘God’: Re-enchanting Catholic Literature.”[2] The organizers explain: “The main title is drawn from Fanny Howe’s Winter Sun, referring to the reluctance of many writers to write about...

By: Guy Consolmagno, SJ

Between Darkness and Light: The itineraries of Leonard Cohen

On November 7, 2016, Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and author, died in Los Angeles. Just a few weeks prior, on October 21, 2016, his final album, titled You Want It Darker, had been released, coinciding with the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan. When asked about Dylan’s award at a Canadian Consulate event in Los Angeles, Cohen replied “it’s like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain in the world.”[1] Sharing the same musical, poetic and writing paths, Cohen and Dylan, who are both Jewish in origin, differ in their...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ
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