Issue 1805

Pope Francis at the World Council of Churches: An interview with Pastor Martin Robra

I met the Rev. Dr. Martin Robra at Villars-sur-Glâne, a few kilometers outside Geneva, on May 27, 2017. He began working with the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1994 and in 2006 became the co-secretary of the mixed working group between the WCC and the Catholic Church set up in 1965. I had already spoken with Pastor Robra about the meeting in Lund marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.[1] We talked about how all the speeches had been focused on the future and not on the past. He had shared with me his hope and expectation that Pope...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

‘I am a Mission’: Toward the Synod on Young People

The main theme of the next Synod, on young people, is vocational discernment. On hearing the word “vocation,” the first thing that comes to mind is the vocation to the consecrated life. However, the call of God is broader; it is not limited to “perfect” forms of life. It is also the humble and continuous universal “vocation to the joy of love”[1] that the Father addresses to everyone whenever he invites us to work in his vineyard.[2] The Lord calls upon us with undiminished hope at every stage and moment of our lives, and his call echoes with a special...

By: Diego Fares SJ

Christian Identity in a Globalized and Pluralist World

Today there are many who question the role of the Church: for some it belongs to the past and can only hinder the development of civilization; according to others its influence drives the moral forces that ensure the orientation of progress; still others uphold it as the key to justice and peace in a world dominated by globalization. Such a position actually concerns all religious forces and cultural traditions because each one has woven links with the conceptions that are at the origin of civilization. Moreover, international institutions have been created to overcome differences and oppositions. The aim assigned to...

By: Joseph Joblin, SJ

Making Christianity More Chinese? Pastoral perspectives

For around the last three years, the Chinese leadership has been repeatedly calling religions present on Chinese soil to “sinicize” (zhongguohua).[1] What is meant by this word? Translators of official documents experience difficulties when trying to convey the meaning of a term like zhongguohua. For instance, the translation of Xi Jinping’s report at the start of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, in October 2017, reads as follows: “We will fully implement the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

The Future of Europe

Some significant events in 2017 If we wish to outline a future scenario for Europe, it is useful to first recall certain significant events that took place during 2017. The first was at the beginning of the year, on January 31, a few days after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. On that date, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, sent a letter to his colleagues - the 27 heads of state and government - in which he wrote that “The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before...

By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

The Chinese Presence in Africa

Introduction Over the last two decades, the Chinese presence across Africa from West to East, South to North, through different projects, like building infrastructure or investing in different sectors, has become conspicuous. When you pass through Addis Ababa – the capital city of Ethiopia and the African Union (AU) – you cannot avoid noticing the new flamboyant offices of the AU built by China, or the new railway that links Ethiopia to the sea. A few months ago, Kenya officially inaugurated the train line also constructed by China that links the capital city Nairobi to Mombasa, the biggest port-city on...

By: Fidèle Ingiyimbere, SJ

The Story of Aloysius Gonzaga

Visiting the so-called “rooms” or “chapels” of St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Rome, to a certain extent one can measure the distance – about four and a half centuries – between our time and his. But he also seems very present, because some things belonging to him – the crucifix, objects for daily use, the letters written in a beautiful script – seem to indicate to the visitor (as if the statue which portrays him very naturally, located in the great hall, is about to come to life and continue one of his favorite talks) the primacy of God over all...

By: Giovanni Arledler, SJ

The Church Says ‘No’ to Nuclear Weapons: Pastoral and moral implications

The teaching of the Church has evolved from a conditioned acceptance of nuclear deterrence in the 1980s, to rejection of deterrence as an unacceptable moral rationalization for nuclear armament in the 2000s, to strong support for nuclear disarmament in recent years, leading to approval for the Ban Treaty in September 2017. Catholics have the right to ask, “Which position should I take?” I would be less than candid if I did not report a degree of consternation among those serious about their Catholic faith that they have not yet received clearer guidance on how to address their civic and professional...

By: Drew Christiansen SJ
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