Issue 1809

The Agreement between China and the Holy See

The signing of a provisional agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the Holy See was announced by the Press Office of the Holy See on September 22, 2018. It is helpful to understand this agreement as a true harmony of notes. That is to say, the beginning of a composition that has yet to be developed. This is not, then, the conclusion of a process, but it is a real starting point that needs to be implemented through instruments of control and improvements to the text. In what follows I shall try to bring into perspective the recent...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

‘I am just a boy’: Meditating on the young with Kings David and Solomon

Is it possible to depend on young people? Is it not risky to give responsibilities to those who have not gained experience? Would trust in a young person be misplaced? Ecclesiastes seems to respond to these questions by stating: “Alas for you, O land, when your king is a child (na’ar)” (Eccles 10:16). Even the prophet Jeremiah, facing the mission that God entrusted to him, is self-deprecating and resists, citing his young age as the reason: “Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy’ (na’ar)” (Jer 1:6). Because...

By: Vincenzo Anselmo, SJ

Refugees in Crisis: Spiritual Resources and Ethical Principles

The humanitarian system is severely challenged today. There are more displaced people today than at any time since World War II. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the situation a “monumental crisis” that will require a response based on “monumental solidarity.”[1] We need to develop much better ways of protecting the humanity of those threatened by tragedies today. The first part of this article highlights some resources found in the religious and spiritual traditions of our world for responding to this crisis situation. It gives particular attention to Christian inspiration to serve the needs of the displaced, and then...

By: David Hollenbach, SJ

Jerusalem: Holy City, Open City

The year 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. The United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, had established that two independent and sovereign states would be created from the Palestinian territory, ex British Mandate: one Jewish and one Palestinian. This resolution created the so-called “partition plan” that met with opposition from Arab countries. It was never actually implemented. On this anniversary, U.S. President Donald Trump wanted the U.S. Embassy – as he had unilaterally declared on December 6, 2017[1] – to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Besides having...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Don Tonino Bello: A bishop who became the Gospel

“A bishop who became the Gospel”: this is the expression that Monsignor Agostino Superbo, the postulator of the cause of beatification, uses to define Don Antonio Bello, paraphrasing the latter’s own definition of a bishop. In fact, at the beginning of his episcopal ministry, Don Tonino said: “I would like to be a bishop who becomes his people, a bishop elevated to the dignity of the people.”[1] To those who asked him about the elements of his human, religious and pastoral formation, he answered in a simple and direct way: “The Gospel and the last ones.”[2] Twenty-five years have passed since his...

By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

Against the Spirit of Fierceness

The “spirit of fierceness” pervades human history. Its form may change but it is always the same dynamic: one of opposition against “the other.” We see it first in the anger of Cain, when it drove him to kill his brother. And it continues to be unleashed in the fury of the dragon who, unable to kill the woman, a symbol of the Church, turns its anger against the “rest of her children” (cf. Gen 4:6; Rev 12:17). New forms of this spirit today include “bullying” and “media persecution.” In a recent homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected...

By: Diego Fares SJ

People as a Mythical Concept for Pope Francis, Reader of Dostoyevsky

There is a work by Romano Guardini that was well known to Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he was rector of the faculties of philosophy and theology at San Miguel in Buenos Aires. It is Religiöse Gestalten in Dostojewskijs Werk (Religious Figures in Dostoyevsky’s Work), in which the master from the Rhine analyzes the world of the characters of the Russian writer.[1] Bergoglio in that period recommended the reading of this monograph, which already circulated among the students.[2] His personal reading of the Russian novelist was enriched by the study of Guardini and his synthetic and systematic reflection on the “religious...

By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ

Benjamin Britten’s ‘Billy Budd’

Billy Budd is an opera in two acts by Benjamin Britten. It finally came to Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera nearly 70 years after its London premiere in a coproduction with Madrid’s Royal Theater and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London. This version has been awarded the prestigious International Opera Award for best production.  The Short Story by Herman Melville This masterpiece is inspired by a novella of the same name by Herman Melville, who dedicated the last, hard years of his life to it. The protagonist is a young and handsome sailor, Billy Budd, spontaneous and natural, who, forced...

By: Virgilio Fantuzzi, SJ
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