The Franciscan Family is commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of St. Francis with a celebration spanning four years. It began by recalling the final approval of the Rule by Honorius III in 1223. Attention then turned to the celebration of Christmas at Greccio. The year 2024 sees the commemoration of the Stigmata, while 2025 will be dedicated to the Canticle of Brother Sun and 2026 to the Transitus.
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In the game of roulette, numbers are everything.This game of chance finds its clear and distinct resolution when the wheel slows its spinning and stops. That is when the suspense melts away and the result comes in. The croupier’s focus is all on the resting point of the the ball. It is that suspense that makes you hold your breath. The number which comes up is everything. The number changes destinies.
Among the Enlightenment’s legacy there is an idea that spanned the centuries and penetrated deeply into the mentality of people in the West. It is the idea of progress, the idea of moving toward our cultural, moral and material best, especially thanks to the successes of science and technology. This idea shaped much of modern European history; it nourished hope and political ideologies; it spread trust in the future.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the world – and not just the West – is living in a time of Islamic-inspired terrorism. After New York, there was Madrid, London, Paris, Nice, not to mention the punishing series of attacks and massacres in Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
This article reflects on the social conditions that can facilitate the handing on of the faith to new generations. What nutrients are needed in the new soil of today’s childhood and youth for them to embrace the faith of our ancestors? What dispositions will we need to cultivate in each growing person so that the incarnate Jesus will find a crib in which to be born? How can the way be gradually smoothed out so that the manifestation of Christ takes place in the lives of those who will succeed us in time?
The philosopher Michel Foucault defines parrhesia as “the frankness, the openness of heart, the opening of word, the openness of language, the freedom of speech.” However, this does not mean saying what one wants in the way one wants, for by its very nature parrhesia reflects an ethical attitude in that what one has to say is said “because it is both necessary and useful, as well as being true.” Therefore, parrhesia is connected to the truth and to the good, and so excludes calumny, defamation and disinformation, while satire is admissible.
The past ten years of the papacy of Pope Francis have been a time of extraordinary activity and challenge for the Church. Whether involved with internal renewal and synodality, with the urgency of apostolic outreach to other faiths, or opposing conflicts and the ever-widening consequences of the ecological crisis, the pope has been concerned with the Church’s mission.
On Sunday, July 9, 2023, at the end of the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis announced the creation of new cardinals and set the date for the celebration of the Consistory as next September 30, just before the opening of the long-awaited Synodal Assembly. This is a very opportune date, given that several of the new cardinals will participate in the Synod and that the imminence of the Synod itself will encourage the participation of other cardinals and bishops arriving for that occasion.
Somewhere between “society” and “community,” the concept of “living together” is still searching for its right formula, as can be seen in settings like the family, religious associations, sport and work teams, and in the Church or in business. Indeed, Jürgen Habermas argued that community or society are not alternatives. In every human life, both are necessary.
Our universe seems made for life; it has the right characteristics to make it possible, to let it prosper and evolve. It hosts biological activity, perhaps with a certain waste of space, for today we can observe a total extension of about 92 billion light years, or about 9 x 1023 km (= 9 followed by 23 zeros, 900,000 billion km). Anyhow, life is present here.
The 21st century is no longer a child. However young it may still seem to us, the global events that we have lived through have already made this century as dramatic as the last one. Probably in the annals of history its beginnings will be remembered for the global challenges that characterized them, such as the economic crisis, climate change and Covid-19.
Portrait of Mother Teresa, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.Twenty-five years ago, on September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa of Calcutta ended her earthly pilgrimage. On October 2003 she was proclaimed blessed by John Paul II and in September 2016 she was canonized by Pope Francis. During her life she received several awards, most notably in 1979, the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
Twenty years after the election of Vladimir Putin as president of Russia, the country is at a crossroads, a critical juncture due to the invasion of Ukraine. The situation prior to the conflict was essentially positive. Despite strong state monopolies, Russia basically has a capitalist economic system and can operate much more efficiently than its predecessor, the USSR.
Father Timothy Radcliffe, who was Master General of the Dominicans, has presented the relationship between faith and culture in these terms: “I grew up in a Catholic subculture that interpreted existence and the world in terms of gratitude and blessing. We believed in a God who heard our prayers, who loved us, and who at the hour of our death would let us go to heaven […]. We had a host of friends who were neither Catholic nor Christian, but it was clear to all that life was oriented toward eternity.
The term “synodality” does not appear in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. However, a closer look at the method and dynamics of the Exercises reveals some key aspects of a spirituality that sustains synodality. The Synod on Synodality initiated by Pope Francis has prompted a re-reading and revisiting of the fundamental Christian sources, revealing several insights that contribute to the emergence of a spirituality oriented in this direction.
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).
Christian tradition has always warned against an evil presence that, although unable to compete with God in dignity and power, is committed to spoiling God’s work, seeking to hinder the salvation of human beings and, more generally, the fulfillment of creation. Many facets of the mode of action of this presence have emerged over the centuries, and many names have been assigned to it.
A previous article dealt with the anthropology of contemporary work. Now let us come back to the considerations of a think-tank on the human dimension of work, which examined the embedding of work in its economic, ecological and social context. Work is intended to care for nature and society, but this care must also apply to the worker.
Curzio Malaparte, born Kurt Erich Suckert, German from Saxony on his father’s side, Lombard on his mother’s, was born in Prato on June 9, 1898, and died in Rome on July 19, 1957. In between, straddling two world wars, the terrible two decades of European dictatorships and a tormented postwar period, he was a prominent figure on the Italian cultural, literary and journalist scene.