Issue 2110

“Freedom Scares Us”: Pope Francis’ conversation with Slovak Jesuits 

Bratislava, Sunday September 12, 2021, 5:30 p.m. – Pope Francis has just concluded a meeting in the Nunciature with representatives of the Ecumenical Council of Churches. There is time to arrange the chairs after the previous encounter, then 53 Slovak Jesuits take their places. Francis enters and greets them: “Good evening and welcome! Thank you for this visit. I didn’t know there were so many Jesuits here in Slovakia. The ‘plague’ is spreading everywhere.” The group bursts into laughter. Francis asks for questions because, he says, provoking laughter again, “I really do not feel like giving a talk to Jesuits.”...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ

The Mysticism of Ignatius of Loyola

A soldier saint or a mystic? Over the centuries since 1556, the year of his death, Ignatius has been interpreted through a variety of images. The leading image for most of this period was that of the soldier saint. This image drew partly on Ignatius’ family connection with the warlike minor aristocracy of the Basque country. Linked with this was his upbringing in the chivalric culture of the day that included training in the art of warfare. Then there was the siege of Pamplona and his exploits there. The image also drew on an erroneous interpretation of the Society of...

By: Brian O’Leary, SJ

Combatting Throwaway Culture

Introduction In the 2014 drama film The Good Lie, Jerry and Mike, two of the “lost boys of Sudan,” land a job at a grocery shop where they experience a culture shock as they watch basketfuls of food being tossed into the bin. “Isn’t there someone who might want or need this food?” Jerry quizzes his boss. One day, Jerry stops a homeless woman from dumpster-diving and gives her, instead, fresh food from the grocery, a gesture that irks the boss. Jerry quits the job, for he cannot understand how it is frowned  on to give food to those in...

By: Wilfred Sumani, SJ

Watteau’s Journeys Into the Impossible

The 300th anniversary of Antoine Watteau’s death (July 18, 1721) passed almost unnoticed. The world of this artist, with its comic actors and theatrical performers, is best revealed by his atelier. The image of this place, handed down to us by a contemporary, is in some ways shocking. The painter “rarely cleaned his palette and often went several days without replenishing it. The vase of grease oil, of which he made so much use, was full of dirt and dust and all the colors that came out of his brushes as he dipped them in.” This chaotic environment was the...

By: Lucian Lechintan, SJ

Law and Good Ecclesial Government: The Vademecum for cases of sexual abuse and the reform of canonical criminal law

In the early months of 2020 I wrote an article about the protection of minors and vulnerable persons in the light of regulations that had been promulgated after the Meeting of Bishops and Superiors General convened by Pope Francis in February 2019. At the time I highlighted that these were very important steps forward, but that in order to respond to expectations two further actions were still awaited: the publication of a “Vademecum” for bishops and superiors and the promulgation of the new Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, on the criminal law of the Church.[1] Now these...

By: Federico Lombardi, SJ

Thomas Aquinas on Justice

The historical background The ancients were well aware of the many aspects of justice. Reading their texts, one is struck by the great richness and complexity of their perspectives. The very root of the Greek word dikaiosynē (justice), dikē, refers to a multiplicity of operational meanings that concern, first of all, the relationship with God and the government of the self that are expressed in operational terms through directives, orders and dispositions. Dike was the mythological daughter of Jupiter and Themis, goddess of laws and courts. She was depicted with a sword and scales, the image by which justice is...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

The “Axial Age” and the Invention of a Shared Future

Even today the notion of the “Axial Age” (Achsenzeit) is the subject of heated debate.[1] Should we consider it a myth or an actual historical reality? As a first step, we should approach the concept as a tool for analysis rather than as a historical reality firmly anchored in time (such as a dynasty or the Industrial Revolution, for example). Karl Jaspers introduced the expression Axial Age in the aftermath of the Second World War.[2] The context explained both the historical perspective adopted and the reservations that soon emerged regarding it. It was then a question of rethinking what the...

By: Benoit Vermander, SJ

Afghanistan and the Limits of American Power

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the refusal of the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden, the United States of America invaded Afghanistan with the aim of putting an end to the Taliban regime and expelling al Qaeda from the territory. Within three months Kabul was conquered and a transition government, led by Hamid Karzai, was established. He then won the first presidential elections on October 9, 2004. Ashraf Ghani succeeded him. A considerable NATO contingent remained in the country and the operation “Resolute Support” was inaugurated, with the aim of forming a regular army able to...

By: Drew Christiansen SJ
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