Issue 2010

People of Israel, Land of Israel, State of Israel

In 1994, the Holy See signed an agreement with the State of Israel, establishing diplomatic relations. Ever since, a debate has been raging about the position of the Catholic Church regarding a state that defines itself as Jewish and sees itself in continuity with ancient Israel in the biblical scriptures, which the Church also regards as sacred. Jewish-Christian dialogue after the Second Vatican Council The Church has been engaged in a process of reconciliation, dialogue and collaboration with Jews ever since the Second Vatican Council. Setting aside a “teaching of contempt,” the Church has sought to develop a “teaching of...

By: David Neuhaus, SJ

Bishop Mario Grech: An interview with the new secretary of the Synod of Bishops

Bishop Mario Grech is the new secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. Born in Malta in 1957, he was appointed Bishop of Gozo in 2005 by Benedict XVI. From 2013 to 2016 he was president of the Episcopal Conference of Malta. On October 2, 2019, Pope Francis appointed him pro-secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. In this capacity he participated in the Synod on the Amazon. Bishop Grech’s pastoral experience is extensive. His friendliness and ability to listen to questions prompted us to have a free-running conversation. Starting with the condition of the Church in the time of...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Fraternity and Social Friendship

Eight years after his election, Pope Francis has written a new encyclical that brings together much of his previous teachings (cf. Fratelli Tutti, No. 5).[1] When he began his pontificate, the first idea Francis referred to was “fraternity.” He bowed his head in front of the people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and defined the bishop-people relationship as a “path of fraternity,” stating this desire: “Let us always pray for each other. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great fraternity.”[2] The encyclical’s title is a direct quotation from the Admonitions of St. Francis. It...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Ritual or Ritualism: The spirit of Confucianism

For Confucius, “a noble man of spirit does not use colors such as amaranth or purple for the hems of his clothes, neither red nor purple for everyday wear.”[1] The Analects of Confucius abound in similar aphorisms and, at first glance, one might wonder whether the detail of the dress standards that the Chinese philosopher applied to himself retains any value in contemporary society. However, two observations allow us to immediately grasp the importance of the collection that, for us still today, documents the deeds and words of Master Kong. In the first place, Confucius teaches much less by word...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Media Ecology, Church and Pandemic

Media ecology, a subset of communication studies, approaches communication as an ecosystem. Borrowing the metaphor of a natural ecosystem, this type of study imagines communication as an environment in which many different elements interact. The environment contains not only different communication media – telephones, radio, television, social media, printed materials, and so on – but also people, ideas, cultures, historical events, and so on. As with any ecosystem, changing any one part affects all of the others. In a natural ecosystem, say a pond in a forest, the introduction of a new species of frog will affect the insects living...

By: Paul A. Soukup, SJ

Hagia Sophia: From museum to mosque

On November 29, 2014, during his apostolic trip to Turkey, Pope Francis visited the Hagia Sophia Basilica in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia – in Turkish Aya Sofya – is an ancient monument that dominates the entire city, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. At the end of the visit he wrote in Greek characters in the Golden Book of Guests: Hagia Sophia tou Theou, The Holy Wisdom of God. The basilica, a culmination of technical expertise and architectural wonder, has been described as “a work of divine inspiration,” the “place between earth and sky,” the “eighth wonder of the world,” and...

By: Giancarlo Pani SJ

The Centenary of Max Weber’s Death

This year marks the centenary of Max Weber’s death.[1] His work is as prolific as it is fragmentary. Most of his writings were, in fact, published posthumously, in particular the monumental works, Economy and Society and Sociology of Religions. Only in 1984 did the Mohr publishing house start bringing out a critical edition of his works. This makes the reconstruction and evaluation of his thought particularly complex. Nevertheless, the extremely complex debate that has arisen around his theses confirms, a century later, the profound originality and fecundity of his thought and  some of his insights into Western modernity. Taking into...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

Hopes for South Sudan's Government of National Unity

Africa is the youngest continent in the world with its 1.2 billion inhabitants having an average age of 19. Each of its 54 countries has a history worthy of individual consideration. By pure coincidence, this continent is also home to the youngest country in the world. Located in East Africa, South Sudan separated from Sudan (in Arabic, Beled as-Sudan, or “Country of the Black Men”[1]) after more than two decades of war. A referendum of self-determination took place January 9-15, 2011, and was followed by independence on July 9, 2011. In mid-December 2013, South Sudan itself was devastated by its...

By: Hermann-Habib Kibangou, SJ
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