Issue 2106

‘Fratelli Tutti’ and ‘Ubuntu’ on Cosmological Friendship

Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti has a number of parallels with the African ethic of Ubuntu. Published in October 2020, the encyclical has drawn attention to the social consciousness on solidarity between different members of society based on social-interdependence. The African concept of Ubuntu largely refers to inter-connectedness within humanity and between its members, and asserts that “my humanity finds its fundamental definition through your humanity.” This definition of Ubuntu is founded on three fundamental values. First, that humanity is essentially designed to co-exist in a cosmological friendship; second, that the core values of humanity cannot only be realized through...

By: Elias Opongo, SJ

'The Burghers of Calais'

Los burgueses de Calais, la última frontera, by Spanish director Jesús Armesto – winner of the SAMIFO prize at the 11th Mental Health Film Festival “Lo Spiraglio” – is an intense and poetic documentary about the condition of migrants stuck in transit at the mouth of the Eurotunnel. These people are confined, as if in limbo, in the so-called “jungle,” near Calais, in Northern France. The title refers to the sculpture by the famous artist Auguste Rodin, in homage to the six burghers of Calais who, in 1347, during the 100 Years War, offered themselves as hostages to the English...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ

History in the Age of Post-Truth

When the last troops of the army of Philip VI left Calais, the city had no choice but to surrender its keys in the hope that the lives of its inhabitants would be spared in recognition of the heroism shown during the siege. However, England was eager to reward the hours and lives of its men spent in that campaign, so it had no intention of leaving without a tribute of blood. Although some of his men tried to convince him to accept the capitulation, Edward III made it a condition that the city’s submission be paid for with the...

By: Pedro Rodríguez López, SJ

Franciscan Influences on Saint Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola’s devotion to St. Peter is fairly well known, but few know that at the time of his conversion, St. Francis of Assisi was for him the most familiar of saints, as Franciscan experiences had marked his boyhood in Azpeitia (1491-1507), the youthful years spent at the court of Germaine de Foix in Arévalo (1507-16), and those lived in service with the Duke of Nájera, viceroy of Navarre (1517-21).[1] Childhood in Azpeitia Let us begin with Azpeitia. It was during Ignatius’ childhood, between 1496 and 1507, that Peter de Hoz, an Observant Franciscan from the convent of...

By: Pedro de Leturia, SJ

Madness and Creativity

“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet / are of imagination all compact.” This famous claim from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a sort of self-diagnosis of the possible relationship between madness and artistic creativity. It is a relationship that also evidences the structural ambiguity of imagination, poised between these two often coexisting conditions. Creativity, especially if we consider its many achievements, seems at first glance antithetical to madness. Even in the mystery of its appearance, to bear fruit requires knowledge, expressive technique, mastery of language, perseverance, even a form of asceticism and sacrifice. All are aspects that seem...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ

'Jesus Christ Superstar' Piano Variations

Jesus Christ Superstar came into being in 1970, written by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. It remains famous for the 1973 film version directed by Norman Jewison. Stefano Bollani has reinterpreted on piano the original score for symphony orchestra, choir, rock band and solo voices. The title, in fact, specifies that they are piano variations, so it is not a transcription for piano but a free interpretation on a predetermined narrative structure. Bollani has stripped away the musical and vocal systems – in fact, the lyrics of the songs are not included, with the exception of the...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ

Conservative Russia

“Russia needs to be frozen”: these words, which are attributed to a 19th century thinker and also to a government official, best express the current intentions of those wielding power and of conservative ideologues in Russia. During the inauguration of a monument dedicated to Czar Alexander III – who on March 13, 1881, had succeeded the reformer Alexander II, killed by leftist terrorists – Putin claimed  that he himself had given Russia 13 years of peace, not by making concessions, but by his firmness.[1] Today, as in the 19th century, there is a convergence, on one side, of political interests...

By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

Jacob and Esau Embrace: An Orthodox Rabbinic Declaration on Christianity

One of the profoundest achievements of the Second Vatican Council was the positive shift in Catholic relations with Judaism, and, in the decades following, the flourishing of those relationships with a steady flow of documents, encounters and exchanges.[1] In October 1960, Saint John XXIII anticipated this epochal reconciliation with his greeting to an American Jewish delegation, “I am Joseph, your brother” (Gen 45:4). Just a month before, Saint John had received Augustin, Cardinal Bea’s suggestion to incorporate relations with Jews in the work of the newly founded Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity in the preparations for the Council. Eventually that...

By: Drew Christiansen SJ
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