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Issue 2109
 

The Elusive Hero: Narrative analysis of values in Asian films

Film forums have proven to be a fertile ground for reflection, helping us to better understand the extraordinary complexity of  the plots of some films. For over thirty years I have been engaging with people from different walks of life, in Asia and Europe, offering them workshops on Confucian ethics in which we have explored the meanings of “hero” in fictional works, such as films. By convention, the typical hero experiences adversity and challenges, adhering to values of respect, loyalty, compassion and wisdom. Chinese expectations about the “hero,” however, do not always follow the prescription of the “happy ending” scenario...

By: Stephan Rothlin, SJ
 

Considerations on Power and International Aid Relations

This present study considers international aid, that is, the institutionalized forms by which people’s conditions are improved. It examines charity systems from the point of view of political power, starting from the concept that international aid was historically born along with the appearance of the idea of public affairs and public service, in the spirit of international relations. Therefore, in this sense, aid is an element of politics, whose original scope was born out of the interaction between nations and right up to the present it occurs significantly among states and political institutions. But to what extent does political power...

By: Michael Kelly, SJ
 

‘The Destructive Spirit’ A Reflection on Memory and Useless Literature

The reflection we present has a purely platonic intent. When we use the expression “platonic love,” we do so to refer to ideal,  not personal love. But this is not entirely accurate. For Plato, love is eros, a search for goodness and truth. This search, however, cannot exist in isolation: it is only possible through dialectics, that is, through dialogue. Moreover, it is an infinite search, because it lasts until death. So, it is rather like the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise. Yet Plato is not only of interest here because of his discourse on eros: his thought will...

By: José Luis Narvaja, SJ
 

John Paul II and the Social Doctrine of the Church

When the cardinals gathered in conclave and elected Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as the successor of St Peter on October 16, 1978, the choice was somewhat surprising. He was the first non-Italian pope since Hadrian VI (elected in 1522) and, above all, he came from Eastern Europe, from beyond the Iron Curtain, from Krakow in Poland. Few would have imagined that the new pontiff was about to bring a renewal to the Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC). A look at his earlier life, however, would have given a clear indication of this direction. He had personal experience of real life...

By: Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ
 

Saint Robert Bellarmine: Servant of the Truth and Doctor of the Church

Four centuries ago, on September 17, 1621, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine's earthly life ended in Rome. He was almost 79 years old and his name was known throughout Europe. In 1599, Clement VIII, during a consistory in which he announced the names of cardinals, pronounced what one might well consider an apt eulogy: “We choose one who has no equal in the Church of God as far as doctrine is concerned, and is the nephew of the excellent and most holy pontiff Marcellus II.” The pope emphasized his wisdom and his kinship with a reforming pope who had transformed the worldly...

By: Giancarlo Pani SJ
 

Cultural Challenges during Vatican II

The early 1960s, a time of cultural upheaval The cultural challenges facing the Church and the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s did not come as a surprise.[1] They were the culmination of the long evolution of modern Western culture, the origins of which go back to the Enlightenment. These challenges had emerged with the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution and were then brought into focus in the 19th century by the great modern philosophical currents (German Idealism, Positivism, Marxism, Nietzschean vitalism, evolutionism), by the birth of the new human sciences (psychology, sociology, psychoanalysis…), and by the advent...

By: Bartolomeo Sorge, SJ
 

The Question of Vocations: Old and new issues

The now clearly fragmented nature of the global Catholic world means that there are some very diverse situations regarding vocations to consecrated celibacy, both for  diocesan clergy and for those in religious life. Asia and Africa have slow but steady growth, while vocations continue to decline in the northern hemisphere and, in an almost similar way, in Latin America. Bishops, as well as superiors of religious orders, are writing letters to raise awareness of the issue.[1] Everywhere there is talk of making greater efforts to promote vocations. But is the problem really one of communication? We will try to offer...

By: Marc Rastoin, SJ
 

The Kalmyks: Buddhists of Europe

When we talk about traditional religions that have been rooted for centuries in Europe, obviously we think first of all about Christianity, Judaism, and also Islam. Buddhism is considered a religion of  South and East Asia: one immediately thinks of India, the birthplace of this religion, but also of China, Japan, Korea and their cultures, which seem quite exotic in the eyes of  Europeans. However, in Europe – if we mean Europe in a geographical sense, that is, as that part of the territory between the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Caucasus and Ural mountains in the east...

By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ
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