Issue 2003

The Berlin Conference and Civil War in Libya

The Berlin Conference on Libya, attended by representatives of 11 countries (mostly heads of government) and major international organizations, January 19, 2020, produced a joint declaration that supports the efforts of the United Nations for a lasting truce, for enforcement of the arms embargo and for the dismantling of militias supported by foreign powers who are fueling a “proxy war” in the country. So far several points set out in the communiqué have not been acted upon. The truce, signed only by President al Fayez al-Sarraj, essentially still holds, although almost every day both sides attack each other.[1] It is...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Women and Men in the Church

We should be grateful to Anne-Marie Pelletier for her recent book L’Église, des femmes avec des hommes, which collects and develops several lines of reflection on the relationship between women and men in the Church that she had already initiated in previous writings.[1] This issue is topical and of crucial importance. After all, the popes have been talking about it for decades, and John XXIII had rightly identified the new awareness of the dignity and responsibility of women among the main “signs of the times” in his famous encyclical Pacem in Terris (1963). There has been no lack of interventions...

By: Federico Lombardi, SJ

Artificial Intelligence and Social Justice: A Challenge for the Church

The poor in a world dominated by 'big data' Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping human experience in ways not visible to, nor fully apprehended by, the vast majority of the world's population. The explosion of AI is having a notable impact on our present rights and future opportunities, determining the decision-making processes that affect all in today’s society. Enormous technological change is occurring. It promises great benefits and poses insidious risks. The proportion of risks to benefits will become apparent, depending on the pioneers and creators of this technology, and, in particular, on the clarity of their vision of the...

By: Paul Twomey

Abandoning the Myth of Nuclear Deterrence

When the U.S. bishops began drafting their ground-breaking pastoral letter on nuclear weapons, “The Challenge of Peace,”[1] in the early 1980s, Bill Spohn, a brother Jesuit and a fellow ethicist, was a colleague on the faculty of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. All faculty members at that time were engaged in dialogues with parishes and schools around the San Francisco Bay area. We expounded the criteria of the “Just War,” probed the morality of nuclear warfare, and led discussions on the drafts of the bishops’ letter. During his speaking engagements Bill Spohn sounded a theme that has stayed...

By: Drew Christiansen SJ

The Beginning of the Universe and the Question of God

The vision of the universe from the Old Testament to St. Thomas Aquinas The Old Testament view of the universe is greatly influenced by the fact that the Jewish people were heirs to Semitic culture. For this reason we cannot separate the vision of the cosmos of the Old Testament from that of the surrounding Semitic cultures. That conception saw the earth as flat. The sky that overlooked it was the “natural” place where God was. However, in a close parallel to the foundations of human dwellings it needed foundations on which to stand, and the columns of heaven were...

By: Gabriele Gionti, SJ

Coronavirus Policy: Activating the antibodies of Catholicism

The coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading around the world, generating a syndrome of universal contagion. Humanity's system of worldwide interconnection gives us a paradoxical experience: the more connected we are, the more contact can turn into contagion, communication into contamination, influences into infections. The apocalypse is at hand. Antibodies are triggered, which go crazy and become an immune system against everything we fear, do not recognize, or cannot control. Viruses have long been a feature of our landscape: from the biblical plagues to Manzoni’s descriptions of the bubonic plague in The Betrothed, and on to today’s cyberattacks. The boundaries of the...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Our Concern for the Future: One year on from the signing of the Human Fraternity Document

“Dialogue is not a magic formula,” declared Pope Francis at the San Luigi Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy, on June 21, 2019.[1] In reality, it requires efforts, meetings, “geological patience” – in the words of the great Dominican Islamist, Georges Anawati – and above all, concrete acts. The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together of February, 2019, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyeb, has entered the delicate phase of its reception, thus it is worth remembering two important elements. First of all, the text is an appeal to be...

By: Laurent Basanese, SJ

Three Biblical Cities

Within the bible we can see cities as symbolic representations of three different ideas. These three city figures are arranged along an itinerary that corresponds substantially to the development of the whole history of salvation.  Cain and the birth of the city The first time there is talk of a city in the bible is when Cain is struggling with the anguish that made him restless and always fleeing from relations with others after having shed the blood of Abel (cf. Gen 4:3-12). Not even the sign of benevolence received from the Lord reassures him (cf. Gen 4:13-16). Genesis recounts...

By: Pino Stancari, SJ
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