In his address to the participants at the International Peace Conference at Al-Azhar (Cairo, Egypt) on April 28, 2017, Pope Francis reminded his listeners that dialogue on a global level may occur if three basic duties are observed: the duty to respect one’s own identity and that of others, the courage to accept differences, and the willingness to recognize the sincerity of the intentions of other people.
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In this epochal change that we characterize as the “digital revolution,” not only digital technologies but also physical and biological technologies all converge. This contributes to a cultural transformation of enormous moment. Our ways of life, work and relationships are changing.
For a lover of the Bible it can be shocking to discover how some are reveling in Biblical verses that seem to speak to a crisis like the COVID-19 crisis. These verses are regularly ripped out of context and violently plastered onto the reality at hand. Prophets of doom proclaim the COVID-19 pandemic is God’s wrathful punishment on a sinful world.
Where’s the fairness in life? Why are some people so undeservedly blessed in this world while others are seemingly cursed? Why are craftiness, self-serving ambition, taking advantage of others, and dishonesty so frequently rewarded? This has no quick answer.
While doing doctoral studies, I had a professor, an elderly Augustine priest, who in his demeanor, speech, and attitude, radiated wisdom and maturity. Everything about him bespoke integrity. You immediately trusted him, the wise old grandfather of storybooks.
More and more friends pass through our lives so that at a point the question necessarily arises: how does one remain faithful to one’s family, to old friends, former neighbors, former classmates, former students, former colleagues, and to old acquaintances? What does fidelity to them ask for?
Discernment isn’t an easy thing. Take this dilemma: When we find ourselves in a situation that’s causing us deep interior anguish, do we walk away, assuming that the presence of such pain is an indication that this isn’t the right place for us, that something’s terminally wrong here? Or, like Jesus, do we accept to stay, saying to ourselves, our loved ones, and our God: “What shall I say, save me from this hour?”
It is often said that Africa is “a continent on the move.” Before European colonization there were no real borders on the continent, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, let alone “walls” or containing barriers, as unfortunately we know them everywhere today.
A time of enforced rest – such as the period of isolation to cope with the coronavirus pandemic – can also provide a valuable lesson. Many have reflected on the significance of this serious epidemic in this respect. Among the many ideas, we would like to take up one well known in the spiritual tradition: take time simply to do nothing.
This reflection of mine will not dwell on the coronavirus – though my thoughts were sparked by a sermon on the pandemic by a Pentecostal preacher I watched on TV. Thumping the pulpit he shouted: “You ask why? Why indeed! God is chastising us for our sins!
China, the first country hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, is also the first nation to try to return to a certain normality. It is therefore, and doubly so, a laboratory, and what happens there is of primary interest to the entire planet. Moreover, the specificities of its political and social system raise many questions about how the pandemic affects and will continue to affect its internal equilibrium and its international position.
There is such a thing as a good death, a clean one, a death that, however sad, leaves behind a sense of peace. I have been witness to it many times. Sometimes this is recognized explicitly when someone dies, sometimes unconsciously. It is known by its fruit.
John Updike, after recovering from a serious illness, wrote a poem he called, Fever. It ends this way: But it is a truth long known that some secrets are hidden from health. Deep down we already know this, but as a personal truth this is not something we appropriate in a classroom, from parents or mentors, or even from religious teaching.
The existential, Christian journey of American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen is traced through his complex and vast discography in a recent publication by Luca Miele, a journalist of the Italian daily newspaper Avvenire.
Sometimes we meet people who have had a good Christian formation, but who have become agnostics over time. We might think that these are exceptional cases. However, we are convinced that these cases are a symptom of an obvious fact: in traditionally Christian countries there is a crisis that affects both the faith and the life of the baptized.
God is One! That means that there is no internal contradiction within God and that assures us that there is no internal contradiction possible within the structure of reality and within a sane mind. What has happened, has forever happened, and cannot be denied.
The analysis and concern for the future among contemporary essayists is almost always focused on the economic and social aspects. The modern and contemporary philosophical context remains marked by the twilight that has fallen on human conscience, deeming it incapable of the true and the imperative of good. It is a short step from here to banish God from the universe of knowability.
The Liberal World Order (LWO) established after World War II is eroding rapidly. Britain’s political institutions are fracturing under the weight of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, leading to fears of a hard Brexit. Populist nationalists are building networks to contest the European Union, possibly the LWO’s most important achievement.
Soren Kierkegaard once wrote that the Gospel text he strongly identified with is the account of the disciples, after the death of Jesus, locking themselves into an upper room in fear and then experiencing Jesus coming through the locked doors to bestow peace on them.