Issue 1906

The Cultural Challenge of Video Games

Video games: help or obstacle to learning? The topic of playing games, in both a serious and fun sense, as help or distraction, has been widely debated over time, and certainly well before the appearance of video games.[1] These games have raised these issues again but this time at a more complex and varied level. Whatever the final assessment, the most rigorous studies agree in pointing out the fascination that games present anyone who has a minimum of familiarity with them, and how they can be sources of motivation for the most diverse and challenging purposes. For example, some have...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

Religions and Violence

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the world – and not just the West – is living in a time of Islamic-inspired terrorism. After New York, there was Madrid, London, Paris, Nice, not to mention the punishing series of attacks and massacres in Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. This phenomenon has contributed to associating religion and violence in the minds of many of our contemporaries. But this connection was formulated a long time ago, and Pope John Paul II, at the interreligious encounter in Assisi in 1986, wished to oppose vigorously such an idea and to show the...

By: Marc Rastoin, SJ

‘Let us throw ourselves into history’: Francis in Bulgaria and North Macedonia

The 29th apostolic journey of Pope Francis had as its destination Bulgaria and North Macedonia.[1] At 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, an Alitalia flight took off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport with the pope, his entourage and accredited journalists on board. At 10 a.m. it landed in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Pope Francis thus became the second pope to visit Bulgaria: Saint John Paul II had visited the country in May 2002. In Bulgaria there are about 68,000 Catholics, or 0.95 percent of the population. There are 55 parishes and 57 priests (36 of whom are religious) and 63...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Water has no Enemy: The ethical value of access to water

“Water has no enemy,” says a proverb often heard in southern Nigeria. Beside featuring in many aphorisms, water provides the inspiration for the naming of many people in that part of the world. For example, the full name of Ameze is Ameze i si ofo, meaning “fresh water doesn’t cause perspiration.” Amenaghawon is short for Amenaghawon i le s’omwan, meaning “the water reserved for you will never run from you” or “a person’s destiny is unique.” And Eze i mwen eghian literally translates as “the river has no enemy.” Another, Amenovbiye, metaphorically depicts water as a sibling in the manner...

By: Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ

Culture and Politics in China: The May Fourth Movement, 1919

Three thousand students gathered in Beijing on May 4, 1919, to protest against the preliminary provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, which gave to Japan the German-held territories in Shandong Province.[1] A national boycott of Japanese products ensued, followed by a general strike in Shanghai, which was the country’s industrial capital at the time. The movement soon extended its demands. Young intellectuals and students, who were outraged by the lack of education for women, sang the praises of “Mr. Science” and “Mr. Democracy” in opposition to the Confucian worldview and its associated ritualism. In addition, they argued that modern vernacular...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Faith and Gnosis

When I discussed gnosis many years ago,[1] I expressed my doubts about the value of two prevailing opinions on this topic. Catholics who lament the imperfect reception of Vatican II or its rejection in some areas of the Church interpret current anti-gnostic positions as the screen behind which fundamentalist critics of the Council hide their resistance. Meanwhile, agnostics believe that those positions express awareness of the failure of those Catholics who see the Church’s teaching rejected in the public arena, and for this reason have invented the specter of gnosis. Both are dangerous opinions on cultural and theological levels. I...

By: Giandomenico Mucci, SJ

Domenico Zipoli Revisited

Until 50 years ago, the name of Domenico Zipoli (Prato, 1688 – Córdoba, 1726) was associated with an Elevation and a Pastorale often found in organ anthologies, some Suites for harpsichord and a handful of biographical notes that were often largely incorrect.[1] Now, however, this musician from the Italian city of Prato is considered the most renowned among Jesuit musicians and the main artist among the composers of the Reducciones in Paraguay. We have an abundance of information on his life and his musical scores thanks to a recent monograph that places him in his context and recognizes his spirituality...

By: Giovanni Arledler, SJ

Spiritual Discernment in ‘Christus Vivit’: Between Ulysses and Orpheus

Christus Vivit, Christ is alive.[1] This is the title of the post-synodal exhortation that Pope Francis directed affectionately “to young people and the entire People of God,” pastors and faithful. In it re-echo “the myriad voices of believers the world over” who had sent him their opinions, and the questions that many non-believing young people had shared with him (cf. CV 3-4). The final chapter, the ninth, has as its title “Discernment.” Its 21 points have a diversified character, depicting concisely and significantly the “wonderful multifaceted reality that Jesus Christ’s Church is meant to be” (CV 207). In the first...

By: Diego Fares SJ
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