Issue 1907

Artificial Intelligence and the Human Person: Chinese and Western Perspectives

A seminar on Artificial Intelligence (AI) was held at Santa Clara University (Silicon Valley, California) from April 3-5, 2019, sponsored by the China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue (an institution born from the joint commitment of La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University) and the Pontifical Council for Culture. The event was hosted by the Tech & the Human Spirit Initiative at Santa Clara. The meeting brought together, in addition to the two authors of these reflections, another 11 participants, scholars from China, the United States and Europe, to examine how the great changes underway are posing challenges to the Christian and...

By: Thomas Banchoff

Leonardo da Vinci: A Universal Man

Five hundred years after the death of Leonardo da Vinci (May 2, 1519), there are still many mysteries to be unveiled related to this protagonist of the Italian Renaissance and the history of humanity. He represents the emblem of “universal man,” a formula that echoes the universalis genius of the ancient Romans.[1] The fields in which this polymath revealed his genius are almost endless. Leonardo was a painter, sculptor, philosopher, designer, writer and above all a scientist: mathematician, optician, architect, engineer, physicist, geologist, geographer and botanist. He was also among the first to conduct research in the anatomical field and...

By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

Migration and Islam

The specter of xenophobia in Europe For years Europe has been haunted by a specter threatening its political, social and cultural cohesion. This specter is a fear of immigrants, and particularly Muslim immigrants, astutely manipulated through media narratives. In our societies – in those less open and democratic – the refugee is sometimes seen not as a person fleeing war and violence, who deserves protection and welcome in accordance with international law, but as an enemy who threatens our wealth, our tranquility and our culture. The same is true of the “economic immigrant” who, driven by destitution, hunger or drought,...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

The Beatification of Enrique Angelelli and his Companions: the Riojani Martyrs

“If I hide or leave La Rioja, they will continue to kill my sheep,” said Bishop Angelelli to Bishop Miguel Esteban Hesayne,[1] who together with other friends, given the threats to which he was subject, recommended that he leave his diocese, at least for some time. He did not leave. In that last period he often drew a spiral that was tightening around the center, to indicate that he knew he was being targeted: the military dictatorship, which had assumed power on March 24, 1976, wanted a “red skullcap,” the head of a bishop. They said so openly. In the...

By: Diego Fares SJ

Svetlana Alexievich: In Search of Humanity

Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian investigative journalist and historian, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015. Her most important books are in fact not works of fiction, but the processing of hundreds of patiently collected testimonies of ordinary people: the testimony of women who served in the Great Patriotic War, the Second World War[1]; those who experienced the war in Afghanistan[2]; those who had been touched in one way or another by the nuclear catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986[3]; those Soviet citizens, later Russians, who had been through Stalinism, de-Stalinization, the Brezhnevian Stagnation and, finally, the advent of democracy.[4] Equipped...

By: Marc Rastoin, SJ

Entrepreneurship and Job Creation among African youth

Jobs, jobs and more jobs! This is a slogan chanted by political incumbents and aspirants alike, in Africa or in Australia. For instance, a newly-formed opposition in Malawi, the United Transformation Movement (UTM), under the leadership of Saulos Chilima, promised to create a million jobs within its first year of office during the 2019 presidential election campaign. This, however, is not the first time such promises have been made on political podiums; yet governments come and go without addressing the employment question satisfactorily. During his political campaign, Donald Trump promised to be the “greatest jobs producer that God ever created,”...

By: Wilfred Sumani, SJ

Human Fraternity: Commentary on the 2019 Abu Dhabi Document

On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb signed a joint declaration of goodwill.[1] The text calls for a commentary from both a Catholic theological and Islamic studies point of view.[2] First, however, some remarks on context are due. Comparable texts have been signed before. Among them are the final declarations of the four seminars of the Catholic-Muslim Forum.[3] This time, in contrast, delegations were not the signatories, but rather the Pontiff himself and an Islamic leader. This elevates the importance of the text, but also of the Islamic interlocutor. Who is the Muslim signatory? Since the abolition...

By: Felix Körner, SJ

The Sacrifice of Don Giuseppe Diana

“On the morning of March 19, 1994, Don Peppino was in the church of San Nicola, in Casal di Principe. It was his name day, the feast of St. Joseph, (Giuseppe in Italian, or Peppino for short). He had not yet put on his priestly cassock and was in the meeting room next to his study. They entered the church, silently walking through the nave. Not seeing a man dressed as a priest, they hesitated. ‘Who is Don Peppino?’ ‘I am’ One pointed his semiautomatic at him. Five shots: two hit him in the face, the others struck his head,...

By: Francesco Occhetta, SJ
Authors of this Edition