Issue 1912

Saint John Henry Newman: Faith, Holiness and Imagination

The Cerdagna plateau in the Catalan Pyrenees has villages with Romanesque churches that are as solid and dark as a mother’s womb. Often they are decorated with beautiful, ornate Baroque retablos, with high, golden, twisted columns and filled with statues of saints from different eras and various states of life. There, on the altarpiece of Saint-Martin d’Hix, one can contemplate not only the patron saint and Our Lady, but also Isidore the farmer, Francis Xavier, Anthony the Abbot, Saint Roque and some anonymous saints. Those who celebrate baptism there can easily link the sacrament of faith with the universal vocation...

By: Nicolas Steeves, SJ

Time for the Abolition of Nuclear Arms

During the Cold War the dominant strategic doctrine was MAD—Mutually Assured Destruction. The irony of the English acronym was grimly acknowledged by proponents and critics alike. You would have to be crazy to initiate a nuclear war that would bring destruction on a global scale. It appears, however, that those MAD days are upon us again. On Thursday, August 8, 2019 an experimental Russian rocket exploded over the White Sea off Arkangelsk on Russia’s northeast coast. Soon after local officials reported radiation levels 16 times normal background levels. Intelligence analysts suggest that a small nuclear reactor powering what Russians call...

By: Drew Christiansen SJ

The Book of Wisdom: Intelligence for a Good Life

The Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament, is little-known, poorly studied and occasionally used for prayer. Some extracts are present in the Liturgy of the Word and in the Breviary. Even in ancient times the book was rarely commented on. The Fathers of the Greek Church spoke little about it, Latin ones even less, and the great theologians of the Middle Ages mostly ignored it. What are the reasons for this lack of attention? One reason could be found in the nature of Western culture where Christianity developed: a culture very attentive to philosophy and science, and less to...

By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

The 58th Venice Art Biennale: ‘May You Live In Interesting Times’

The slogan chosen for the 58th Venice Art Biennale lends itself to a kind of self-service interpretation, which is the exact opposite of what art means: “May you live in interesting times.” Once more we are talking about art and its role in understanding and facing practically the reality of this world and human life in all its complexity. This year the art in Venice is again organized on three levels: the central exhibition, the national pavilions, and the many additional exhibitions around the city. The central exhibition in the Giardini and the Arsenale The director of the 2019 Biennale...

By: Friedhelm Mennekes, SJ

The City In The Bible: From place of alienation to gift of God

The birth of the first urban settlements in the ancient world, especially in the Near East, was epochal, a junction of technology, economics and society that embodied decisive progress. The construction of the first cities was a fundamental stage in the history of civilization. Jericho, which is considered the oldest urban center in the world (its first defensive wall dates back to 8000 B.C.), Ur, Uruk and Çatalhöyük testify to the presence of humans inhabiting those places through the millennia. Even today in the Near East it is possible to see on the horizon the tell, one of the artificial...

By: Vincenzo Anselmo, SJ

The Whisper of the World: On the margins of the Amazon Synod

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction and poetry – two of the most distinguished literary awards in the United States – both posed the same question: What is the role of trees in human experience? The poet Forrest Gander (awarded a Pulitzer for his elegiac collection Be With) illustrates what some have called “ecopoetry.” His work is faithful to his dual education in literature and in geology. He explores the landscape, focusing on our belonging to the earth and plant world. “There, in the rumpled quiet of the trees, we catch the most animate qualities. In the riffle of...

By: Jean-Pierre Sonnet, SJ
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