Issue 1802

Facing Death with Humanity and Solidarity

Reading newspapers or surfing the web in the days after a recent intervention by Pope Francis on end-of-life issues, one would have found it difficult to get a clear idea of the actual content of his message. The various headlines, often on the front page, spanned a wide range from “Living Will, the Change of Francis”[1] to “Euthanasia, No Change by the Pope”[2] with many more formulations in between. Readers who went beyond the headlines would certainly have been able to encounter individual elements from the pope’s text, but rarely would they have been able to acquire a full picture...

By: Carlo Casalone, SJ

Jesus and Judgement

“God himself is judge!” (Ps 50:6). This exclamation by the psalmist expresses so much about the common belief of the Jews at the time of Christ. There is certainly a judge who will judge both people and nations. “The wicked man reviles the Lord, saying to himself, ‘You will not ask for an account’” (cf. Ps 10:13). But on these words, Rabbi Aqiba comments, “There is a judgment and there is a judge.”[1] What might seem to be a threat is actually a hope. God’s judgment is not primarily bad news, because faith in a God who wants the salvation...

By: Marc Rastoin, SJ

A New Look at the Life of St. Peter Claver: "The elderly who dream and the young who prophesy"

When he met with Jesuits during his recent journeys to Colombia and then Myanmar and Bangladesh,[1] Pope Francis referred to St. Peter Claver in a way that invites a new reading of the life of this saint.[2] The expression used by the pope was charism, but he did not so much speak of the charism of Claver, but rather the pope presented the very person of Claver as a charism. Claver made himself the “slave of the slaves,” becoming for them a real Paraclete – a counselor, advocate, intercessor.[3] By his very life he prophetically denounced the social blindness of...

By: Diego Fares SJ

The Development and Contributions of Religious NGOs in China

Since the reforms beginning with the open-door policy in 1979, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have grown rapidly in China. NGOs do not have a long history in China compared with their counterparts in other Asian countries. In China, there is no consistent definition for NGOs and they are often referred to as “social organizations,” “nonprofit organizations,” “nongovernmental organizations,” or “mass organizations.” The policy of China from 1949 to 1979, prior to the open-door reforms, was to follow the Soviet Union’s model of a planned economy according to which the central government controls everything for all sectors, allowing no room for anyone...

By: You Guo Jiang, SJ

To Seek and Find the Will of God

St. Ignatius of Loyola describes the task assigned to those who preach and receive the Spiritual Exercises thus: “To seek and to find the divine will in the orientation of your life for the sake of the salvation of your soul.”[1] After disposing yourself to desire the purification of your heart, in doing the exercises you must fight to realize this supreme aim. This is the goal of the Christian life itself. What does it mean to seek and to find the will of God? In God there is a will which is his very essence. To desire the will...

By: Giandomenico Mucci, SJ

South Sudan: Turbulent early years of independence

On July 9, 2011, six months after the referendum that established its independence from Sudan, and following several decades of violent conflict that sowed death and displacement and tore the fabric of its society, the Republic of South Sudan became the 54th country of the African continent, a member of the African Union, and the 49th country in sub-Saharan Africa. A few days later it officially joined the United Nations as its 193rd member state. However, multiple crises caused by internal conflicts have generated instability and produced hunger, famine and large numbers of refugees. The situation of economic breakdown and...

By: Andrew Rusatsi, SJ

Islam in Russia

Four hundred kilometers east of Moscow lies one of the most beautiful and wealthiest cities of Russia: Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, the largest Muslim enclave in the Russian Federation. Currently, a high-speed train line between Moscow and Kazan is under construction, the second planned after the one connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg, demonstrating the symbolic importance of Kazan and Tatarstan for the region. These two high-speed rail lines offer a modern embodiment of the old symbol of the double-headed eagle, facing both East and West. Islam is an invaluable component of the history and culture of...

By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

Touching Jesus: Art and Absence

Contact always generates a twofold transformation, for one cannot touch without being touched. Indeed, of the senses, touch is the most compromising for it represents proximity, violation, relationship and familiarity. All in all, it is the most human and the most mystical of the senses. In biblical anthropology, “touching” is something that goes beyond the perception of physical contact; in fact, by way of touch, Scripture speaks of purification, healing, forgiveness and desire. In the Gospels the verb haptomai (“to touch”) occurs eight times in Matthew, 12 times in Mark, nine times in Luke, and once in John. The Fourth...

By: Luigi Territo, SJ
Authors of this Edition