Issue 1902

The Global Compact for Migration

Soon after World War II, the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, a legally binding multilateral treaty, defined who is a refugee, what rights they have, and established the obligations of nations in their regard.[1] In the broader field of migration, however,[2] apart from a convention on migrant workers,[3] until now there has been no comparable international agreement regarding migrants in general. In 1951, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was established as an intergovernmental organization, working with governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental partners to provide a wide variety of services in the field of migration. The IOM joined the U.N. system in...

By: Card. Michael Czerny, SJ

A Decade after the Collapse of Lehman Brothers

In the fall of 2008, a tsunami devastated global finances, dragging down with it some ancient banking institutions and causing panic on the main money markets. In less than a month, shares listed on Wall Street had lost a third of their value and, consequently, a few trillion dollars went up in smoke. In September 2008, Ben Bernanke, then-president of the United States Federal Reserve (FED) and a learned expert of the Great Depression, asserted when presenting his Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to U.S. Congress leaders: “Without these measures we may not have an economy next Monday.” Was this...

By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

Iran, the Nuclear Agenda and the United States

The current crisis between Iran and the United States is the worst since the Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini[1] and the diplomatic crisis of 1979-81 when young Islamic revolutionaries stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran taking fifty two diplomats and other citizens,  hostage for 444 days. The present situation was triggered by President Donald Trump’s May 8, 2018, withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015 by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United Kingdom, France, United States, Russia and China), plus Germany....

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Is Anything ‘Sacred’ in Shanghai? Religious and spiritual geography of a Chinese metropolis

The deeply rooted Latin concept of the “sacred” was integrated into the Chinese lexicon with the creation of a specific word. The term shensheng is primarily used by scholars and Christians – especially Catholics[1] – but can also be used by all Chinese attempting to describe a mysterious place, full of spiritual energies. This includes more than geographical locations. For many, their sphere of intimacy or their spiritual situations are the place of the truly sacred. A study was conducted between 2012 and 2017 on the different religious and spiritual communities active in Shanghai, a metropolis of 24 million inhabitants....

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’: Narcissism and spiritual worldliness

The end of the seventh chapter of the Letter to the Romans contains an exclamation in which Saint Paul gives voice to a deep pain that permeates his entire existence: “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24). At first glance, it seems that the apostle is making a very severe judgment about his own body, as if he almost preferred to do away with it so as to live serenely the spiritual life. But this is not so. In reality, if we pay attention to the preceding verses, we see that...

By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ

Interreligious Dialogue in Asia: A look at the past to understand the future

Over the last decades interreligious dialogue in Asia has faced some tough challenges. Even though many religious leaders, organizations and thinkers have been working constructively and efficaciously, at the popular level religions often limit themselves to coexisting rather than engaging in dialogue and collaboration. Besides, tensions and conflicts, both short- and long-term, continue to be all too frequent. Two reasons explain the difficulties that are faced in this field. First, conflicts are very rarely “simply” religious: they are generally mixed with ethnic, political, economic and social factors. Second, believers instinctively tend to underline the specificity of their own creeds and...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Between Nazareth and Bethlehem: Jesus’ origins in the Gospel

The complex presentation of the origins of Jesus in the books of the Gospel embodies a tension between continuity and rupture, old and new, expectation and surprise in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Two places, Nazareth and Bethlehem, characterize this tension that is fundamental to the relationship between the two covenants, whose unity forms the basis of the Christian Bible. The perspective of Mark Mark, the first of the Gospel accounts to be written, informs his readers right from the first verse who Jesus actually is: “the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). However, the author...

By: David Neuhaus, SJ

Christianity in Central Asia: The Jesuit mission in Kyrgyzstan

Christianity on the Silk Road Although Christianity was born in Asia – and until the Arab conquests of the seventh century the center of Christianity remained in Asia – today it is more commonly considered a continent that is characterized by Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. When it comes to religions few people know that, even after Muslims had conquered its places of origin, Christianity spread throughout the territory between Mesopotamia and the Pacific, spanning the whole Eurasian continent. Though there is evidence of Greek-based Christianity in Central Asia in the first centuries AD, the principal credit for the dissemination of...

By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ
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