Issue 2103

The Christians of Iraq

Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq (March 5-8, 2021)[1] will bring to the attention of Christians around the world and of the international community the issue of the survival of Christian communities in Middle Eastern regions that, because of wars, tribal conflicts and poverty, risk disappearing forever. These are very ancient communities, many of apostolic foundation. Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil of the Chaldean Catholic Church of Iraq and founder of the Catholic University of Erbil, said in a recent interview: “Before 2003 there were more than 1,300,000 Christians in Iraq. Today fewer than 300,000 remain. Where there is no work...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ

Water Bearers by Atiq Rahimi

Atiq Rahimi’s latest work, Les porteurs d’eau, which we expect to appear in English under the title The Water Bearers or The Water Carriers, is a refined and powerful novel that sets two Afghan stories side by side. One takes place in Kabul, the other in exile between Paris and Amsterdam. The two protagonists, Tom – or Tamim – and Yussef, linked by subtle differences and deep similarities, are both lovesick. The fate of the gigantic statues of the Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley, which the Taliban destroyed on March 11, 2001, looms over everything. In fact, the two stories...

By: Diego Mattei, SJ

The European Union - China Agreement

On December 30, 2020, the European Union and China completed political negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The pact was signed at the end of a videoconference involving Chinese President Xi Jinping and top European representatives: Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Charles Michel, President of the European Council; and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the rotating President of the EU Council. President Emmanuel Macron of France was also connected.[1] In general terms, the agreement reflects the intention of the EU and China to deepen economic relations, granting each party more secure opportunities to invest in...

By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

The United States from Trump to Biden: From insurrection to inauguration

January 6 should have been a day of quiet confidence for American Catholics. Joe Biden had been elected president and the Congress was about to confirm the popular vote. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as she opened the House session, took  note of the Feast of the Epiphany and prayed the Peace Prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, “Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is darkness, may you [sic]  bring light. Where there is hatred, let us bring love. Where there is despair, let us bring hope.” Like Speaker Pelosi, President Biden is open, but...

By: Drew Christiansen SJ

From Francis to Mozi: ‘Social Friendship’ and ‘Inclusive Love’

Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti (FT) resonates as a passionate tribute to a fraternity without borders. If fraternity has a distinctive “local flavor,” Francis asserts, it is necessarily lived in a context of universality. Living a kind of fraternity that “integrates and unites” should appear as a kind of imperative, as an obvious fact that is accepted; yet, as Francis writes, “there are those who appear to feel encouraged or at least permitted by their faith to support varieties of narrow and violent nationalism, xenophobia and contempt, and even the mistreatment of those who are different. Faith, and the humanism...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Vaccines: Making responsible decisions

“Arabian smallpox maliciously undermines man at the threshold of life and preys on the human species almost destroying it in its birth. This very sad thought is exacerbated by the repeated heavy losses of life caused by the disease and should persuade everyone to embrace with great enthusiasm and receive with equal gratitude the inoculation vaccine, a method that is as simple as it is effective in curbing the poisonous force of the disease.” These words are from the Edict on Vaccination, June 20, 1820,[1] issued immediately after an epidemic of smallpox in the Papal States by the Secretary of...

By: Carlo Casalone, SJ

Street Art Restoring Cities

Street art or post-graffiti or guerilla art is above all art for the people, it is a form of urban renewal for downtown or the suburbs. This is the case of two monumental murals that Jorit has completed on the facades of two buildings overlooking the subway square of Scampia, a suburb of Naples. They depict Pierpaolo Pasolini and the American activist, Angela Davis. They are not unique in Scampia, as associations and private individuals have long since used their art to color this neighborhood, which is too often stigmatized as a place rife with drugs and organized crime. The...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ

The Long Political Transition of Iraq

From March 5 to 8, 2021, Pope Francis will visit the troubled Land of Two Rivers, a common translation of the old name, Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq. Accepting the invitations of the Republic of Iraq and the local Catholic Church, Pope Francis is due to make an apostolic journey to the country, visiting Baghdad, the Plain of Ur, which is linked to the memory of Abraham, the city of Erbil, as well as Mosul, Qaraqosh, on the Plain of Nineveh, and Najaf.[1] This is the first time a pope has visited that land, where the Christian community has been a...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ
1 2
Authors of this Edition