Issue 2005

Raphael: Lights and Shadows in the Life of a Genius 

In his New Year’s greetings to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis recalled the fifth centenary of the death of Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael), “the great artist from Urbino, who died in Rome on April 6, 1520”, and reflected: “he left us a vast legacy of inestimable beauty. Just as an artist’s genius can blend raw materials and different colors and sounds to create a unique work of art, so diplomacy is called upon to harmonize the distinctive features of the various peoples and states in order to build a world of justice and peace. This is...

By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

The Mediterranean, a Frontier of Peace

Sixty bishops from twenty countries attended The Mediterranean, a Frontier of Peace[1], a meeting from February 19 to 23, 2020, not by chance in Bari, the setting in 2018 of a significant ecumenical prayer meeting that had seen the patriarchs and heads of the Churches of the Middle East gather around Pope Francis.[2] With the pope’s encouragement, and on behalf of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti had invited the patriarchs and bishops of the countries bordering the Mediterranean to consider this very particular space in the world for a period of reflection, discernment and pastoral collaboration among the...

By: Paolo Bizzeti, SJ

China and Covid-19

China, the first country hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, is also the first nation to try to return to a certain normality. It is therefore, and doubly so, a laboratory, and what happens there is of primary interest to the entire planet. Moreover, the specificities of its political and social system raise many questions about how the pandemic affects and will continue to affect its internal equilibrium and its international position. All of these factors will determine how global society negotiates its exit from the pandemic, the long-term management of the risks it will continue to confront, and also the...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Africa: A continent on the move

It is often said that Africa is “a continent on the move.” Before European colonization there were no real borders on the continent, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, let alone “walls” or containing barriers, as unfortunately we know them everywhere today. There were, instead, empires whose geographical extent and borders varied, as well as acephalous societies, states without an established head or capital.[1] The only truly fixed and determined political reality for the inhabitants was membership of a clan or a specific ethnic group. This, however, does not mean that Africa is a continent without history, without civilization – as was...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Do Nothing: A precious and arduous activity

The difficulty with being by yourself A time of enforced rest – such as the period of isolation to cope with the coronavirus pandemic – can also provide a valuable lesson. Many have reflected on the significance of this serious epidemic in this respect. Among the many ideas, we would like to take up one well known in the spiritual tradition: take time simply to do nothing. You can occupy time, kill, fill or cheat it, perhaps by sitting in front of the TV with a beer and crisps. Or, worse, you can yield to the insidiousness of that vice...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

‘The Life of the World to Come’

“The life of the world to come.” This detail in the profession of faith concludes the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed proclaimed at Mass on Sundays and on other solemnities. It is perhaps recited by the faithful without particular attention and without too much weight given to these words. “Eternity” is a word that has fallen into disuse. It has been observed, on the basis of some surveys, that the percentage of those who believe in a life beyond death is lower than that of those who believe in the existence of God. And with the horizon of eternity extinguished, the natural desire...

By: Giandomenico Mucci, SJ

The Heart of ‘Querida Amazonia’: ‘overflowing en route’

How does Francis propose to solve problems, and in particular those posed by the Amazon? The answer is found in a Spanish word that recurs five times in the Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia that is the motor or, rather, the beating heart of the text.  It is essentially Pope Francis’ own way of seeing. The term is (in Spanish) desborde or, as a verb, desbordar. It is hard to translate it into other languages using the same word. It suggests “overflowing”, “flooding”, “super abundance”, or “spilling over”. Faced with great problems, such as the one that humanity faces in Amazonia,...

By: Diego Fares SJ

CoronaCheck and Fake News

With the spread of the Covid-19 virus, there has been a spike in disinformation about its origin, diffusion and effects. False and misleading claims concerning the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic are documented in the Wikipedia entry “Misinformation related to the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.” People have died from taking drugs passed off as useful. The information verification process has been in trouble for some time, and the pandemic has made the problem plain for all to see. Infodemia and data verification The causes of this crisis have been known for a long time: people spreading incorrect information for political reasons, together with...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ
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