Issue 1807

The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different

The “prosperity gospel” is a well-known theological current emerging from the neo-Pentecostal evangelical movements. At its heart is the belief that God wants his followers to have a prosperous life, that is, to be rich, healthy and happy. This type of Christianity places the well-being of the believer at the center of prayer, and turns God the Creator into someone who makes the thoughts and desires of believers come true. The risk of this form of religious anthropocentrism, which puts humans and their well-being at the center, is that it transforms God into a power at our service, the Church...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Diversity and Communion among the First Christians: The genesis of the New Testament

A considerable effort needs to be made to become immersed in the religious world of the first century. It involves dealing with a world very different from today, if only because the term “religion” did not always mean the same thing for people of that time as it does for people now. It was a world in which Christianity was a modest reality. The evangelical parable of the small seed that becomes a large tree is very suitable for describing the beginnings of Christianity. To continue the metaphor, it was a shrub from which many branches rapidly sprouted. A very...

By: Marc Rastoin, SJ

Catholic Education, Faith and Vocational Discernment

Introduction The Church has convoked a synod to examine “how she can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to fullness of life and love and … identify the most effective ways to announce the Good News today.”[1] This is an important task in a world where youth have taken a leading role in many areas previously thought to be reserved for older generations. The digital age has seen the surge of younger generations impacting societies in a way difficult to imagine some years ago: Facebook, Twitter and many other mass media/social networks have been founded by people...

By: Jose Mesa, SJ

The Jesuits in China, 1842 to 1954

In 1582 Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci were the first Jesuits to be allowed into China. This first period of presence of the Society concluded – following wonderful moments and also periods of persecution – with the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773. The Jesuits were present again in China for a second period following the reconstitution of the Society (1814) from 1842 through to 1954, when they were expelled from the country. We are looking at the 1,121 foreign Jesuit missionaries sent to Jiangnan, central China, up to the 1950s. They collaborated with 286 Chinese Jesuits and a small...

By: David Strong, SJ

Big Data and Ethical Challenges

The poor in the 21st century, as well as the cash poor, are the ignorant, the naive and the exploited in a data-dominated world. With the controversy engulfing Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and their use of personal data displaying how deep and widespread the invasion of privacy for commercial gain really is, the Church is called to reflect and act, showing a preference and support for this new class of poor. She needs to inject thousands of years of ethical thinking into a policy discussion which now takes place mainly in a bubble of very computer literate “technorati.” The Church needs...

By: Michael Kelly, SJ

Miguel Ángel Fiorito and popular religiosity in Jorge Mario Bergoglio's formation

Since his election on March 13, 2013, among the many questions posed regarding the person and history of Pope Francis are those about the origins of his thought in general and of his theological mindset in particular. Between 1968 and 1978, Jorge Mario Bergoglio finished his formation as a Jesuit and began his ministry as a priest, first as novice master and then later as provincial. At the time of his ordination (1969), he was almost 33 years old. In that era, one person had a great influence on him: Fr. Miguel Ángel Fiorito (1916-2005). He had been rector of...

By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ

Science and Religion in Ian G. Barbour

Ian Graeme Barbour (1923-2013) was someone rather rare: a physicist and a theologian. Born in Beijing, in the course of his studies in Chicago he was the assistant of Enrico Fermi and, after graduating in physics, he began work as a physicist at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He later applied himself to the study of theology, ethics and philosophy at the Yale Divinity School and from 1955 was the first person in the United States to teach in both a Physics and a Religion Department, introducing for the first time in a university environment academic courses in Religion and Science...

By: Giandomenico Mucci, SJ

The Legacy of Karl Marx

When asked about the criterion for recognizing the greatness of a philosopher, Hegel suggested we let two centuries pass and then consider what remains of their achievement. This adage can appropriately be applied to Karl Marx, one of Hegel’s best-known scholars. On the bicentennial of his birth, Marx continues to be talked about; although in the last 30 years in a less prominent way.[1] It is certainly difficult to take complete stock of what Marx represented and continues to represent. This is due to the vastness, complexity and ardent tones that accompanied his thought, and also to the difficulty of...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ
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