Friday, November 30, 2007

Violence, Molotov Cocktails, Hugo Chavez And Jesuit Fr. Luis Ugalde

Gasoline containers and automobile tires ... ready for use in incendiary violence!
VHeadline commentarist Oscar Heck writes: This is incredible ... but highly credible, and real ... especially when one takes into account the role of the US Embassy in Caracas against Chavez, against the Venezuelan people (the majority pro Chavez) ... and the clear implications of the CIA, the NED, USAID and other subversive US units ... against democratic Venezuela.
I was watching VTV Venezuela Television, live ... where pro-Chavez students from the UCV (a public university -- yet traditionally controlled by the mid-to-upper classes) in Caracas, were showing what they inadvertently came across (caught red-handed) ... a Polar (Venezuelan beer) case (36 beers capacity) filled with gasoline-cocktails stuffed with red (pro-Chavez color) rags .. and gasoline containers and automobile tires ... ready for use against Chavez supporters in incendiary violence.

This is and example, among many, of typical mid-to-upper-class (and whiter-skinned) anti-Chavez violence-inciting activities.

I know ... I was at the anti-Chavez demonstrations (violent blockages of major highways and thoroughfares) perpetrated by the anti-Chavez mid-to-upper classes in their attempts to create chaos throughout the country in 2002 and 2003.

I know ... they attacked me, at least a hundred of them ... with sticks and metal rods, in Santa Ines, one of Caracas's wealthy mid-to-upper class urbanizations. I know ... I had to remain in hiding for about 3 months in Venezuela ... threatened with assassination. I know ... and so does Chavez ... and so do Chavez supporters.

We (my wife and I ... and probably millions of poorer Venezuelans, the majority who are pro Chavez) very recently heard on Venezuelan television ... as Ugalde, the rector of one of Venezuela's most "exclusive" mid-to-upper-class private universities (UCAB), said ... "The vote of the poor is (only) what it's worth" ... and he said it in an openly and succinct derogatory fashion ... and this criminal is a Jesuit ... a supposed representative of Jesus Christ, my mentor, Chavez' mentor.
Link (here)

From a Jesuit, non-the-less! (El Universal)
Interview with Luis Ugalde, president of Andrés Bello Catholic University
"To say Jesus Christ was a socialist is absolute nonsense" Jesuit priest Luis Ugalde: "Socialism, when embraced seriously, is not a mere denunciation against man’s oppression, but a whole-hearted attempt at creating a fairer economic model in modern societies"


"I was denied the Venezuelan citizenship during (President Rafael) Caldera's first administration for being a 'communist'. Following the mass riots of February 27 and 28, 1989 (known as Caracazo), while I was vice president (of UCAB), I was imprisoned for 'instigating' those serious rioting. It was a foolish act, but I was indeed put in jail. Now, I am accused of being a pro-coup activist for sharing a different point of view." A Spanish-born Jesuit priest, a social activist and the president of Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), Luis Ugalde answers back the accusations made against him by President Hugo Chávez. The President "claims he likes to discuss such ideas. Well, I am willing to do so, publicly or privately," Ugalde said.

Q: Setting aside President Hugo Chávez' accusations ("a pro-coup priest who has gone nuts"), does it have any importance at all for mankind by now to discuss whether or not Jesus Christ was a socialist?

A: The question should be "for Venezuela" not "for mankind." Chávez is very smart and I am certain that he does not believe in such things as Christ being a socialist.

Q: Does he intend to feed on (the life of) Christ for his political ends, then?

A: Had he said that in Cuba 30 years ago, Chávez knows he would have been forced to take back publicly or put in jail for heretic. But the situation is quite different now. There was a discussion here on the religious legitimization of Independence. People were taught, through catechism, that if they disagreed with (Spain's King) Fernando VII they were against God. And that is what the Venezuelan Government intends to do: to look for such a legitimization. If (Venezuela's Liberator Simón) Bolívar was a socialist (obviously he was not), if Christ was a socialist, and you run against that model, you are considered to be against Bolívar and Christ. Chávez is a clever communicator; he is good at making spontaneous associations. He associates socialism with love, solidarity, generosity, Bolívar and Christ, and he who disagrees with these is an evil person.


Q: So, Jesus Christ and Bolívar were not socialists, and Chávez isn't either.

A: Neither Christ nor Bolívar was a socialist. And certainly the Venezuelan Government has little, if any, of socialist.

Q: Chávez is always quoting from the Bible to claim that Christ was a socialist.

A: Jesus Christ was not a socialist because socialism, if embraced seriously, is not a mere denunciation against man's oppression (this is a Christian denunciation), but the search of a fairer society in which equal opportunities reign supreme. Socialism was a particular historical attempt to develop an economic model in the modern society -not in former times- so as to create, as propounded by Karl Marx, wealth, to eliminate what is mine and what is yours as well as the private property of means of production. Religion, and specially Christianity, was one of the handicaps both Marx and (Vladimir) Lenin faced to achieve those aims. These personalities therefore would have not considered Chávez to be a socialist.

Q: isn't it the same idea preached by Christ?

A: We, Christians, can accept neither exploitation nor third class citizens. We must make the most of our talents to create an inclusive society. But that is no socialism; that is just the effort (we have to make). Socialism is only the means. A Christian cannot wish a child to die. But, how can the child be cured? A physician prescribes the child one particular treatment; another, a different one.

Q: Many priests found in socialism a means, including the armed war, to fight injustice and poverty across Latin America.

A: I have taken part in this debate for 40 years and have not given up. In the 1970s, when religion was said to be the opium for the people, the growing Catholic Liberation Theology movement denied it. The Christian theology does not legitimate domination; it legitimates a process. The point is how to reduce poverty, and that is not achieved through utopias but through employment, education and health. Intellectual laziness is unacceptable for any Christian, and therefore we must analyze not only what happened in countries where there was a real socialism, but also what happened in Germany, Norway and Sweden. We need to assess and use facts as guides. This is a debate among 21st century Christians about finding a way for Latin America to have fairer and inclusive societies. In this regard, socialism does fit in this debate, and that is quite different from saying that Christ was a socialist. That is absolute nonsense.

Q: In such a debate, isn't freedom a key issue?

A: In the liberation stage (employment, safety, welfare) there must be much more freedom of speech and thought and plurality. But if you are put in the Cuban mousehole and are told that you cannot read a letter from your mother without the government first reading it, that you have to watch only the TV shows they want you to watch and that you cannot think but what they think, that is like being in jail; that is not a superior stage for mankind. In the 19th century, Juan Germán Roscio (a leading lawyer in the emancipation movement in Venezuela) showed in his book "El triunfo de la libertad sobre el despotismo" (The Triumph of Freedom over Despotism), that he wrote while in prison, that the Holy Bible does not legitimate oppression, but awakens spiritual forces for mankind to grow in freedom, equality and justice. It is a mere manipulation to claim that is socialism.

Q: Is it also a manipulation to assume that you can find there the germ of all freedoms and equality?

A: Long before Jesus Christ, prophets warned that "God shall vomit you out of His mouth because you sell the poor for a pair of shoes." One thing is the denunciation and another thing the ability to build. The influential politician in the early days of the Soviet Union Leon Trotsky wrote: "We will make the equality proclaimed by Christians come true because Marx discovered some scientific laws that, once they have cured economy, will make individualism and egotism to vanish into thin air." That was the big mistake and the main reason behind the failure. Translated by Servio Viloria

From the blog The Jungle Hut
An interesting piece from Superior General Hans-Peter Klovenbach, S.J. entitled

Dissecting Diversity Lacks Christian Reasoning

You will find no mention of Christ in this article.

Dissecting Diversity
At Seattle University, diversity is more than a buzzword—it is part of the institutional fabric of the university. But a new task force is looking at how we define diversity, how it is part of the SU culture and ways we can expand our programs to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.
By Nick GalloNovember 30, 2007

At Seattle University, diversity is a defining characteristic, school leaders say. But diversity is also a broad, amorphous term. It has a feel-good, “We Are the World” kind of easy appeal. What is diversity, really? How does diversity contribute to academic excellence and enrich the educational experience? Last January a group of SU administrators, faculty and students came together to form a task force to explore such questions. The Engaging Our Diversity Task Force has been taking an inventory of SU's diversity-related initiatives on campus and will issue its report in December 2007.
“Real diversity occurs when people can express differences even from within a particular racial or ethnic group.”—Jacob Diaz, assistant vice president of Student Development/dean of students, It was born not out of any real crisis but because SU wants to make a meaningful assessment of diversity, a hard-headed evaluation of how it's integrated into daily life at the university, says

Robert Kelly, co-chair of the task force and vice president of
Student Development. “When some people think about diversity, they stop at
the numbers—the racial or ethnic makeup of people—but we're going beyond that to
look at how diversity ties into the entire education enterprise,”
he says. “There's a feeling we're not doing enough to use our diversity to benefit
all students.”

“This is complex because there's a wide range of things to consider when you think about faculty members 'buying in' to diversity,” Fitts says. “If you're a sociology professor, it's pretty likely that you're going to be addressing diversity issues—racism, sexism, injustices—but how do you do that if you're a physics professor? It's tempting for some faculty to say, 'Oh, diversity, that's not my issue.'”

However, cultural differences arise in almost every classroom and can affect learning. Two years ago, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) launched regular workshops on diversity to spur faculty's professional development. They've included topics such as “Strategies for Enhancing Intercultural Learning and Teaching.” During the first year, 30 faculty members attended such sessions. Last year, the number doubled. The center also provides reviews of research literature for faculty. It reports that about one-quarter of the requests for literature reviews from faculty are related to diversity topics. Diversity is woven into numerous coursework offerings as well. This year SU introduced a major in Women Studies, adding to a list that includes International Studies, Global African Studies, International Business, Asian Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Modern Languages and Literature. Additionally, the College of Education recently approved a social justice class as a requirement for all its degree programs. Students also engage diversity through service-learning initiatives, which have become ingrained in the educational fabric of SU. More than three-quarters of all SU undergrads take a course with a service-learning component before they graduate, reports Kent Koth, director of the Center for Service and Community Engagement. Most of the service-learning opportunities take place within a few miles of the SU campus, in neighborhoods with sizable populations of blacks and Asians, says Koth, noting that such experiences push many students out of their comfort zone and force them to grapple with issues of race and class.
Going global
Other SU initiatives point an increasing trend toward internationalization. As the world shrinks, and the local and global are increasingly intertwined, educational excellence requires a global dimension, says Lawrence, associate provost for Academic Affairs. Already, several programs have global elements. For instance, students can engage in intensive international study in countries throughout the world as part of the undergraduate International Development Internship Program or graduate Research for Development Fellows Program. Students also have numerous opportunities to join Campus Ministry's immersion programs in places such as Nicaragua, Belize, Ecuador, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam. Now, says Lawrence, it's time for SU to take the next step and integrate global learning in a more systematic fashion. “We have lots of good things happening, but it's in an ad hoc way that often depends on a particular person's passion.”
Engaging diversity
Clearly, diversity has flourished at SU. But how often do students from different groups go beyond incidental, superficial contact—sitting across from each other in a classroom—to have personal, meaningful exchanges with one another?
The 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), an annual nationwide survey of college students, sheds some light on this.
Of students surveyed, 68 percent of SU seniors reported frequent conversations with students of a different race/ethnicity, compared to a 57 percent average at Jesuit peer institutions. When students were asked whether their institution substantially encourages contact among diverse groups, 67 percent of SU seniors said yes, compared to 49 percent at other Jesuit schools.

The NSSE survey doesn't illuminate how engagement happens. At SU, the process involves hundreds of formal events yearly combined with daily, informal exchanges among students, faculty and staff. For example, at the International Student Center, dozens of annual education and social events build solidarity among international students and also act as a bridge to the entire SU community. Similarly, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) helps more than a dozen student groups host events that link minority students to the larger SU community. Monica Nixon, director of OMA, is especially encouraged by new student-led initiatives. She points to the Hui O Nani Hawaii student group, which celebrates its heritage every year with a highly popular luau that draws up to 500 people. Concerned that visitors haven't been learning enough about Hawaiian culture amid the fine food and festivity, the student club last year launched a separate, daylong event to present different aspects of Hawaiian history and traditions. “If we really want to promote diversity, we need more opportunities for prolonged engagement,” says Nixon.
Last year, OMA also started “Courageous Conversations,” a series of open discussions meant to foster intergroup dialogue. The once-a-month sessions, led by students who have been trained in diversity issues, focus on controversial topics. “With diversity comes possible conflict, so we have to be able to confront that in a safe environment.”
In December, the Engaging Our Diversity Task Force will make recommendations that will be incorporated into SU's new strategic plan. They will likely address ways to promote diversity inside the classroom and in other areas of campus life, too, says Kelly. Such efforts are bound to be part of an ongoing process, says

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. “In the last five years, I think we've made
some gains, in terms of creating an environment where minority students feel at
home here, where they feel this is their university,”

he says. “But we have a ways to go when it comes to asking, 'How well do we reach across to one another?' That's really what a Jesuit education is all about, and it will require lots of collaboration among faculty, staff and students.”

Read the full article (here)

Jesuits In Ethiopia

The Jesuit Presence in 17th Century Ethiopia

In the rural plateaux of northern Ethiopia, one can still find scattered ruins of monumental buildings alien to the country's ancient architectural tradition. This little-known and rarely studied architectural heritage bears silent witness to a fascinating if equivocal cultural encounter that took place in the 16th-17th centuries between Orthodox Ethiopians and Catholic Europeans. The Indigenous and the Foreign explores the enduring impact of the encounter on the religious, political and artistic life of Christian Ethiopia, one not readily acknowledged, not least because the public conversion of the early 17th-century King Susenyos to Catholicism resulted in a bloody civil war enveloped in religious intolerance. Included in this presentation are photographs showing the surviving architecture of a number of religious and stately buildings of early 17th-century Ethiopia, a period when a mission of Jesuits from Goa, in Western India, was most active at the Ethiopian Christian king's Court. This important heritage, known as pre-Gondarine, is scarcely known outside of Ethiopia. The photographic exhibition is complemented by a show of Jesuit books belonging to the Biblioteca Pública de Braga, and manuscripts from the Archive of the Conde da Barca, which are now in possession of the Arquivo Distrital de Braga.
The catalogue includes a number of images from illustrated Ethiopian manuscripts and texts from the period, kindly lent by The British Library and the SOAS Archives, with further examples of Ethiopian art from Private Collections, which were in display when the present exhibition was shown at the Brunei Gallery (SOAS - University of London), from July to September 2004, on the occasion of the launching of the book The Indigenous and the Foreign in Christian Ethiopian Art (eds. I. Boavida e M. J. Ramos).
The Jesuits in 16/17th-Century Ethiopia The Christian kingdom that controlled the Ethiopian high plateaux suffered a series of very deep political, economic, military and religious crises in the period between the late 15th century and the expulsion of the Jesuit missionaries in 1633. The Somali and Afari armies led by Ahmad ibn Ibrahim, called the Gragñ (or “left-handed”) seriously threatened the very existence of the Christian state from 1529 to 1543, when they were finally defeated by the Abyssinians with the help of a small Portuguese expeditionary force sent from Goa, India. Subsequently, parties of Borana and Barentuma Oromo pastoralists began raiding deeper and deeper into Abyssinian territory and, by the end of the 16th century, many had settled in Gojam and Shoa and had become the main adversaries of royal power in Abyssinia. The Portuguese military collaboration with the Christian Ethiopians served their own strategic interests in their regional rivalry with the Ottoman Turks for control of the trade routes in the Red Sea and the north-western sector of the Indian Ocean. But the Portuguese rulers, together with the Pope in Rome and the head of the Company of Jesus, had the additional intention of establishing a mission in Ethiopia to encourage the population to switch from their Orthodox faith to Catholicism – an intention that made sense in the light of the Counter-Reformation concerns in Southern Europe. A Jesuit mission led by Father Andrés de Oviedo first entered the country in 1557, only to find that the conversion project was too utopian. They began visiting the royal court, where they participated in a number of theological discussions with the Orthodox clergy. But they were eventually persecuted and expelled to Tigray where, in May Gwagwa, they preached and gave support to the Portuguese community that had stayed in Ethiopia in the wake of the Gragñ wars. As the years passed and the Portuguese either dwindled in numbers or converted to Orthodoxy, the mission became almost extinct. By the end of the century, when Philip II, the Emperor of Spain, inherited the Portuguese royal crown, he decided to revive the Jesuit mission in Ethiopia. A new priest, Father Pedro Páez , was sent from Goa. Once in Ethiopia, he forced his way into the royal court. Other priests joined him and together they gradually gained the favour of the new Ethiopian King Susneyos and, very importantly, converted his brother the Ras Sela Krestos to Catholicism. In 1621, Susneyos publicly announced his adherence to the Latin faith, a strategy to reinforce his political power and his independence from the influential Orthodox clergy. A consequence of the public conversion of the king was the arrival of a growing number of Jesuit priests intent on rapidly introducing Catholic reforms into Ethiopia. In 1626, the Catholic Patriarch Afonso Mendes imposed a number of changes on the ancestral religious practices of the Ethiopians. Social unrest and civil war followed and Susneyos was forced to resign. His son Fasiladas, who succeeded him, rejected Catholicism upon his accession to the throne and, in 1633, expelled or killed all Jesuit missionaries.

Link to original article (here)

Two Jesuits, With Regards To The Holy Father And Islam

L'Osservatore: Papal invite to Muslims opens door to higher dialogue
By Cindy Wooden11/30/2007
Catholic Online
VATICAN CITY (CNS) - By inviting a varied group of Muslim scholars to meet with him, Pope Benedict XVI has opened the possibility for a higher-level dialogue between Catholic and Muslim leaders, the Vatican newspaper said. The newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, commented Nov. 30 on a letter to the pope from 138 Muslim scholars and the pope's invitation in response.
The newspaper quoted German Jesuit Father Christian Troll, a scholar of Islam, who said that the 138 scholars represent a wide and diverse portion of the world's Muslim community, and the fact that they were able to write to the pope together is important.
The letter, Father Troll said, is an initiative "which the church can only look favorably upon because it needs a skilled dialogue with the non-Christian world." L'Osservatore said, "The pope's response opens concrete horizons for this hope." The pope's invitation, released Nov. 29 at the Vatican, included a suggestion that the scholars hold a working meeting with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and with experts from Rome's Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. The former president of the Gregorian institute promoting interreligious dialogue and the study of Islam, Jesuit Fr. Daniel Madigan, said, "It is very important that there has now been a clear acknowledgment of the approaches made by these Muslim scholars."

Father Madigan, a visiting fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington, said the affirmation in the papal response that "we can and, therefore, should look to what unites us" counters an all-too-common attitude claiming "we should look first at what divides us."

He also said, "It is significant that the pope does not simply engage with the letter of the 138 in an impersonal way at the level of ideas, but invites the parties to meet and proposes the beginnings of a process." While the pope said the purpose of Catholic-Muslim dialogue is to promote "justice and peace in society and throughout the world," said Father Madigan, "the theological aspect of this is essential because our visions of justice, peace and society are all formed by our belief -- we cannot avoid talking about it."

Link to Catholic Online article (here)

St. Ignatius And Pope Paul III

I Did Not Think You Had To Leave New Orleans City Limits To Find Enough Work For A Hundred Years

Loyola and Jesuit partnership to address poverty, racism and migration
(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans and the Jesuits have joined forces to create a new initiative aimed at improving social and economic conditions in the southern United States and select Gulf/Caribbean area countries. On Wednesday, November 28, The Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., president of Loyola University New Orleans, and the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., provincial of the New Orleans Province, Society of Jesus, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, formally establishing the Jesuit Social Research Institute (JSRI) as a joint undertaking of Loyola University New Orleans and the Jesuit Province. The JSRI, headquartered on Loyola University’s campus in New Orleans, will operate within a network of Jesuit social centers in the U.S., partnering countries, and other universities. With the creation of the JSRI, Loyola and the New Orleans Province hope to be able to aid those in need through research, education, and advocacy based in Jesuit theological and intellectual traditions and Catholic social teaching. “While a vision for the Jesuit Social Research Institute preceded the hurricanes and flooding which devastated the Gulf Coast region, the need for the institute has become increasingly apparent over the past two years,” said the Rev. Ted Dziak, S.J., director of Mission and Ministry at Loyola University, and board member of the JSRI. The signing of the memorandum signals the symbolic launch of the institute. After several months of consultation, a focused agenda of pilot projects will be established early in 2008. In the future, the institute will invite faculty and student collaboration in research, social analysis, and theological reflection. There will be a particular focus on academic research, education, and social action dealing with issues of migration, racism, and poverty. The JRSI, housed in Mercy Hall on Loyola University’s main campus, is a department in Loyola’s College of Social Sciences. The initial fellows of the institute are the Rev. Edward B. Arroyo, S.J., the Rev. Thomas Greene, S.J., the Rev. Michael Bouzigard, S.J., Shera Maiden, and Mary Baudouin.
For more information, please contact the

Rev. Ted Arroyo, S.J., at (504) 864-7746,, or visit

Link (here)

McGuires 28 Years Of Abuses And Criminal Activity, Not Covered In Jesuit Insurance Policy

Insurance co. says no coverage for McGuire
November 29, 2007
The insurance company for the Chicago Jesuits that employed convicted child molester Rev. Donald J. McGuire filed a suit Thursday stating it is not liable for defending the convicted priest or settling the lawsuits filed against him. Empire Indemnity Insurance Company filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court against McGuire, the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus, as well as McGuire’s alleged victims -- John Does 116, 117, and 118. The company is seeking declaration that they have no duty to defend or cover McGuire for any of the suits filed by McGuire’s alleged victims. John Doe 116 filed a lawsuit against McGuire and the Jesuits on Aug. 21, while John Does 117 and 118 filed a joint lawsuit on Oct. 26.
The insurance company claims the Jesuits knew of McGuire’s pedophilia as early as 1969 and because they knew of his condition the policy does not cover McGuire, among several other reasons, the suit said. Three umbrella policies were provided to the Jesuits from Nov. 30, 2002 to 2003, then again from 2003 to 2004 and 2004 to 2005. The allegations of abuse by the three John Does does not fall under the coverage period, the suit claims. The company claims that liability or suits seeking damages for physical and sexual abuse are excluded from coverage in the insurance policy.
According to the suit, McGuire does not even qualify as insured through the Jesuits because he is only covered for acts within the scope of his employment. Empire Insurance also claims that assault and battery are excluded from coverage because of the nature of policy. Empire says even if McGuire does qualify as being covered in the policy, it would still not apply because of allegations of bodily injury McGuire is accused of.
The Chicago Jesuits have presented McGuire with a dismissal decree from the order, which still needs Vatican approval to become official.
McGuire said he has appealed to the Vatican not to allow the dismissal. McGuire
has been living in an Oak Lawn apartment while appealing a seven-year prison
sentence in the Wisconsin conviction.
He's been jailed three times for violating the terms of his release and now wears an electronic monitor, according to Sun-Times reports. On Friday, McGuire is scheduled to appear for a preliminary examination in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys at 9:30 a.m. on federal charges alleging he sexually molested minor boys, including one who lived with him in Evanston and accompanied him on interstate and international religious retreats.
Link to original Sun Times article (here)

How Big Is The Begining And The End, "The Alpha And The Omega"?

Across the Universe: Searching for Ourselves
Should the vast size of the universe concern us? Could indeed we fail to notice it? We have researchers trying to give us some estimate of its distance in terms of light years and in terms of billions of years in the making.

Pascal, in a famous passage, said that the infinite spaces of the heavens frightened him. Why did they not exhilarate him? Space is not so overwhelming if we have reasons to think that it had a creator. Yet, one of the reasons why people do not want the universe to be created, even if it is created, is because of what that implies.

It suggests that a reason can be given for its existence, size and all. Further, this reason may just have something to do with us. That is, we may not be just an afterthought in the whole system, as if we were utterly insignificant. A quick way out of the implications of personal responsibility, then, is simply to deny any meaning at all either to the universe or to ourselves within it. That leaves us supposedly “free” but, at the same time, meaningless, except for any possible meaning we might give ourselves, a meaning that is not particularly consoling. Actually, this denial of an intelligent origin of things usually does not leave us free either. Rather, it leaves us stuck in a determined universe that is doing what it must do. We are, as a result, anything but free.
I often find philosophic principles in unexpected places. Linus and Charlie
Brown are standing on a knoll; the darkest of nights surrounds them. While
gazing into the mysterious night sky, Charlie says to Linus, “Have you ever
considered the enormity of the universe, Linus?”
The question is definitely a new one for Linus, who clearly has not thought of it. In the next scene, with his arms wide as if taking it all in, Charlie continues, “Nobody knows what lies out there beyond the stars.” This very observation suggests that we do wonder about what is “beyond the stars.” The third scene has no words. In awe, both Charlie and Linus continue to stand and stare at the dark night. Finally, Linus, obviously reflecting on the enormity question, says to Charlie, “I don’t even know what’s on the next block.” Both the enormity of the universe and what is going on in the next block can be, or perhaps ought to be, of concern to us. Our minds, Aristotle said, are capable of knowing all things. We just do not have time in this life to get around to them all, but we would like to if we could. That very curious fact may be one of the reasons why we wonder about the given insufficiency of this life to cover all that is. Why do we have such a power to know, which evidently comes to be first fully aware of itself in our early twenties? It is a power that requires more for its flourishing than we can possibly have time for in one lifetime. It seems like a natural invitation to frustration. There are not a few who take it as such. I have often asked the question of myself, “Why is it all right to be a human being?” You may wonder what Schall is mumbling about when you see him walking across campus! But a turtle does not ask himself, “Why is it all right to be a turtle?” — or at least, I have never met one that did. But a human being who does not ask such a question of himself, by implication, is failing to be a human being.
We are peculiar kinds of beings. We not only are, but want to know what we are,
why we are. For us, it is not enough just to exist.
Yves Simon makes a very insightful remark in this regard. The only way that we can be the kind of being we are, the one that does not even know what is going on in the next block, is for us not to be anything else but ourselves — what we are. This means, logically, that I want what is not myself to be precisely “not myself.” The enormity of the universe is not, somehow, opposed to the obvious particularity in the universe. Indeed, the power of intellect seems to suggest that, in the end, I am really not deprived of what is not myself. If I set myself to it, I can know what is not myself. Indeed, this endeavor to know what is not myself seems to be what I am supposed to do.
Well, this is heavy stuff. But in the enormity of the universe, I do not want anyone to forget Linus’ earnest realization that he didn’t even know what was going on in the next block. It is amazing what we do not know about what is going on next door. We do not in fact want anyone to know everything about us or we them unless we love them. What is the conclusion to all this reflection on everything and every thing? In his “Lost in the Cosmos,” a title not wholly related to the enormity of the universe, Walker Percy asked the following pertinent question:
“Why is it possible to learn more in ten minutes about the Crab Nebula in Taurus, which is 6,000 light-years away, than you presently know about yourself, even though you’ve been stuck with yourself all your life?”
As I say, the universe is enormous and we are in it, as is what is going on in the next block. It may of course be mere babbling to think of these things, or it may finally be a sign that you have begun to wonder about what is, including about yourself and what goes on in the next block.
Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. is a professor of government.
He can be reached at
AS THIS JESUIT SEES IT… appears every other Friday, with Fr. Maher and Fr. Schall alternating as writers.
Link to the Hoya article (here)

Fr. George F. Wiltz, S.J. "Rest In Peace" II

Father Wiltz, Jesuit Retreat Director And Chef, Dies
Published: November 29, 2007
GRAND COTEAU, La.—Jesuits are urged to be men for others. And for Jesuit Father George Wiltz, that meant serving people around the altar as well as around a dining room table. Father Wiltz, a New Orleans native, lived his life as a Jesuit for 55 years, a priest for 40 years and as a Cajun chef. Father Wiltz, 73, died Oct. 26, in his native city from complications following surgery. During his years of ministry, he directed Atlanta’s Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House, along with other Jesuit schools and retreat houses across the South. He was buried in the Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La. “Father Wiltz was a very charismatic man, well liked. He was very charming,” said Debbie Brumelow, the general manager at the Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House. Father Wiltz hired her for the position. Father Wiltz donned a chef’s hat first while a student at the Jesuits’ St. Mary’s Seminary in Kansas. During the holidays when the regular cooks went home, Father Wiltz took over. He’d stir up food for some 200 of his fellow Jesuits in theology studies. His culinary skills made him well known. A Wiltz-prepared dinner for 20 people raised some $2,800 as a Dallas fundraiser. Tapping into his upbringing, Father Wiltz relied on primarily Cajun cuisine to satisfy people’s hunger. He and another Jesuit priest, Father Hacker Fagot, penned a cookbook, “New Orleans Cooking En Famille.” The book features a variety of Cajun cooking, from fancy New Orleans barbecue shrimp to the staple red beans and rice. According to a Jesuit magazine, the two priests-turned-cooks faced some obstacles putting recipes down on paper as they converted Father Wiltz’s “a dash of this, a bit of that recipes to the measurements more-exact format cookbook editors prefer.” Father Wiltz entered the Society of Jesus at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La., in August 1952 and was ordained in June 1965. Father Wiltz served in many roles, from the superior of Jesuit seminarians at Spring Hill College and president of Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., to director of the Jesuit Seminary Fund in New Orleans and superior at Ignatius Residence, the Jesuit retirement home in New Orleans. He served in Atlanta from 1988 to 1993. At the time of his death, Father Wiltz served as associate pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. He is survived by three sisters, Dolly Ann Peltier of Atlanta; Juanita Larmann of Pittsburgh; and Marie Blanche Halley of Metairie, La.; and a brother, Roland, of Metairie.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Jesuits Office of Development, 710 Baronne St., Suite B, New Orleans, LA 70113.
Link (here)

Former Jesuit Is Doris Day Fan And A Faculty Member At USC

A Conversation With Drew Casper
From Hitchcock to Doris Day, the USC film expert with a keen memory can reel off one screen gem after another.
By Allison Engel

Casper had a brief, memorable meeting with director Alfred Hitchcock in 1975.Photo/Philip ChanningDrew Casper Ph.D. ’73 always plays to a packed house. This film scholar and former Jesuit priest has been on the faculty at USC since 1972 and has been the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Professor of American Film since 1979. He usually teaches three popular lecture courses per semester, held in the 350-seat Norris Cinema Theatre, where he is known for his information-studded lectures and uncanny ability to remember students’ names. Postwar Hollywood 1946-1962 (Blackwell Publishing Limited), his latest book, was published in August. AE: When did you first fall in love with movies?
DC: When I saw my first film. I remember seeing The Dolly Sisters. There were these two little girls on the screen first, one dressed all in pink and the other all in blue. Then all of a sudden, there was this dissolve and they became Betty Grable and June Haver. And I thought this was so amazing. It was like another world that transcended my own world, as the church was too. When I went to films, I would stay usually for two times and if they really knocked me out, I would get lost and see them again and again and again.

AE: How old were you then?

DC: I don’t remember exactly, but I remember seeing Sunset Boulevard later when I was about 6. I would collect bottles on the beach for two cents a bottle and got 35 cents to go to the Casino Theatre in Wildwood, N.J., where we spent all of our summers. I told my parents I was going to confession. I gave my 35 cents to adults and asked him or her to buy me a ticket. The movie house was pitch black and so was the film frame, full of shadows as it was. It scared me more than any Frankenstein or Dracula movie. I ran all the way home and hid under the sofa bed until my family came home from the beach. I never saw a human being so locked into herself, so delusional as Norma Desmond.

AE: Did you always go to adult movies as a child?

DC: I didn’t go to Disney. In Philadelphia, I’d take the bus in and go to movies. I was about 7 and wanted to see Come Back, Little Sheba with Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster. The cashier would say, ‘Oh, sonny, you want the film across the way, Peter Pan.’ And I would have to give my money to an adult. I knew Hitchcock when I was very young. I remembered his name because it was above the title on Under Capricorn when I saw it with my parents. So when I saw his name again for Strangers on a Train, I went to see it by myself. I knew that Hitchcock was a sign of quality, like Billy Wilder. I went to all Billy Wilder's movies as a kid.

AE: Did you ever meet Hitchcock?

DC: Once. In 1975. It was at Chasen’s and
I was still a Jesuit priest. Hitch and his wife Alma were in the first booth. I
knew that Hitchcock was educated by Jesuits and I said, ‘I am a Jesuit and I am
studying at USC in the film school.’ He stopped eating and made the sign of the
cross and blessed me, In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
And then he asked me to sit beside him, and he proceeded to tell me about his latest film, Family Plot, for a good 10 or 15 minutes.

AE: How many years has Pat Hitchcock, the director’s daughter, been coming to the class when you screen Psycho?

DC: She started coming in the 1980s, and she always has a lot to say. She acted in the film, you know. She’s very generous and brings very handsome watches with Hitch’s likeness on them and passes them out to everyone in the class.

AE: You are an expert on the career of Doris Day. Why Doris Day?

DC: Looking at her on the screen made me feel lighter, happier. She conveyed, in film after film, a focus, an optimism that I hooked into and used as a role model. She had a smile that would light up New York City – what a way to meet the world. No matter, whether she was conned by men, or in unfortunate straits, she pulled through. The voice also sent me. When Doris sang, it was so intimate; you felt that she was singing just to you. And Doris could find the emotional key to a song and bring it out.

AE: How did you develop your infallible memory?

DC: Like the body, the memory has got to be exercised. While I drive, I listen to CDs of Broadway shows. I will cull five or six songs from the show (or in the case of a show like South Pacific, all the songs) and then I will memorize them. On my walks in the morning, from 4 to 5 a.m., I will intersperse my prayers with songs. And then I exercise the body at the gym and swim.

AE: Tell me about your new book.

DC: It’s film from 1946 to 1962. It’s going back to my childhood. What I contend is that historians and aestheticians have not given enough accounting of this period as a time when the classic paradigms begin to break. They usually say 1960. But you could see this maneuvering, this subverting, this coming apart in many, many ways. Great scholar Dana Pollen shares this same idea about postwar cinema. He encouraged me to pursue this. If it weren’t for Pollen, this book would never be.

AE: How many films do you see a week?

DC: Six, seven? You gotta keep up. I see a lot of foreign films. They are more satisfying than postmodern American films. The most amazing film I’ve seen in the last six months is the German film that won the Oscar for best foreign film, The Lives of Others. From 1977 on, there’s been a diminution in American films, as in all the arts. American films today unfortunately are about technology and commerce. Not that they weren’t before, but these values have overridden literary values and performance values. Corporations are cultural movers today, not artists.

AE: Do you have a favorite Hitchcock film?

DC: Yes. Notorious. Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. I think it’s a perfect film. Like all Hitchcock films, it has such a rich subtext. It’s about two damaged people who can’t trust. It’s one of the great love stories not only in Hitchcock’s work but in all of screen literature.
Link (here)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Molinism And Fr. Luis de Molina, S.J.

Does God choose who will believe?
Nov 29, 2007
by Jeff Robinson

Does God unconditionally choose every person who will ever be saved or does He look deep into the future and choose those whom He foresees will trust in Him? Two Southern Baptist theologians grappled with the controversial doctrine of election Nov. 27 during the three-day "Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism" conference co-sponsored by Founders Ministries and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and held at the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center. Founders Ministries formed in 1982 to advance Reformed theology in SBC churches.Greg Welty, associate professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, unpacked the Calvinist view of unconditional election -– the belief that God has chosen before the creation of the world every individual who will ever be saved apart from foreseen faith or good works.Ken Keathley, senior associate dean and professor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., proposed a solution to the Calvinistic (unconditional election) and Arminian (God chooses those whom He foreknows will trust in Him) disagreement on election through a theological system known as "Molinism." Welty argued in favor of unconditional election, pointing to a number of biblical texts that seem to support the Calvinistic doctrine, including Ephesians 1:3-11. This passage, he said, demonstrates that election is God's choosing of individual persons; election is eternal, having taken place before the foundation of the world; and election is grounded in the will of God and not the will of man."God's will is to love us and show us mercy," Welty said. "This text tells us that He predestined us in love. It is not a cold and analytical doctrine. The will of man is not mentioned here as the basis of God's choice. It is clear to [the Apostle] Paul that election is grounded in the will of God. It is not conditioned on something in the creature." Elsewhere, in Romans 9, Paul clearly asserts God's choosing of a people irrespective of foreseen faith or works, Welty noted. In the latter portion of the chapter, Welty pointed out that Paul even anticipated human objections to the doctrine of unconditional election and answered them. While humans charge God with injustice for choosing some and not others for salvation, Paul does not flinch in asserting the justice of a sovereign God in freely carrying out His holy will."If election were conditional," Welty said, "Paul would have every reason to say, 'Wait, you misunderstood my teaching; God's choice of man ultimately hinges on man's choice of God, so it is all fair in the end. God's choice of Jacob was really based on Jacob's future choice of God, so there is no injustice here.' That might be appealing to us on some level, but that is not where Paul goes. Paul traces this back to the eternal purpose of God in our lives."Welty also dealt with a number of objections to unconditional election such as the Arminian assertion that election is based on God's foreknowledge of all who will believe in Him. Interpreting texts such as Romans 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:1-2 to uphold this view is neither necessary nor plausible, he said. "Foreknowledge" in these two texts does not mean that God merely foresees the actions of individuals, but shows that He has foreknown them relationally, Welty said. Neither text speaks of foreseen faith, he added."God foreloves individuals and marks them out," Welty said. "That is what foreknowledge in these texts means.... God is a God who chooses throughout the Bible. Most Christians will not deny that. God chose Israel in the Old Testament, for example. Paul's doctrine of election reflects on how God has chosen in the past."
Because of the logical problems inherent in both Calvinism and Arminianism, Keathley said he views Molinism as "a more biblical and logically coherent" alternative. Molinism is named after 16th-century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina and attempts to reconcile the sovereignty of God with human free will by looking at God's work of redemption through His foreknowledge. Foundational to Molinism is the belief that God knows everything, including all the possible actions of human beings given every possible circumstance. Contemporary adherents to Molinism include apologist William Lane Craig and philosopher Alvin Plantinga. Keathley proposed Molinism as a solution to the divide between Calvinism and Arminianism, arguing that Molinism, like Calvinism, affirms the absolute sovereignty of God, while also affirming God's permissive will, which establishes the free choices of men.A key to Molinism's ability to better explain God's choosing some men for salvation without violating their free will is its doctrine of "middle knowledge," Keathley said.
Middle knowledge postulates that God knows all possible worlds He could have created in addition to the one He chose to make. Thus, God created that particular world in which all of His elect people would experience circumstances appropriate to cause them to freely trust in Christ. The primary weakness of both supralapsarian Calvinism (God decreed to save some men before the fall) and infralapsarian Calvinism (God decreed to save some men after the fall) lies in their inability to explain sin and evil without stipulating God as the cause of them, Keathley said. Molinism better reconciles God and the so-called "problem of evil," he said, and eliminates the charge of God having caused evil."God controls all things but He does not cause all things," Keathley said. "We must embrace God's permission to avoid having God causing evil." Both Welty and Keathley agreed that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists must be charitable in expressing their differences on the doctrine of election."To my non-Calvinist brethren I respectfully ask them to consider the arguments and the Scriptures that I have given," Welty said."To my Calvinist brothers, I want to say it is important to distinguish between doctrines that are essential to the Gospel and those that are essential to the flourishing of the Gospel.... Let us avoid using language such as 'Calvinism is the Gospel.' I find that unhelpful because it usually generates more heat than light. We don't want to give someone the impression that he has to believe all the traditional points of Calvinism if he is going to believe the Gospel."--30--Jeff Robinson, director of news and information at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was among the writers covering the "Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism" conference at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center. Link (here)

Fr. Ed Boyle, S.J. "Rest In Peace"

From Cardinal Seán’s blog
St. Andrew’s Dinner On Friday evening, we had a St. Andrew’s Dinner at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. Young men from several parishes came for the holy hour and the vespers with the seminarians.Afterward, we had dinner with them, and three seminarians gave witness talks about their vocations. Then, I addressed the young men, talked about vocations and answered some of their questions.As we were leaving the seminary, we ran into a Portuguese group, a “rancho folclorico,” from St. Anthony Parish in Cambridge. They were at the seminary for an ethnic party, and all the young children were dressed up in their costumes and had castanets. They sang a couple of songs for us, which was very enjoyable.
Pay respects to Father Ed Boyle On Sunday I attended the wake for Father Ed
Boyle in the chapel at Campion Hall, the Jesuit retirement home in Weston.Many
hundreds of people went there to pay their respects. It was a very moving
experience to see how beloved Father Boyle was to so many people whose lives
were touched by his ministry in working in the labor movement.
The crowd extended from the coffin, through the church, down this very long hallway out to the street. It was incredible how many people went there. His funeral was the following day at St. Angela Parish. He had helped out for many years at St. Angela’s, so he asked to be buried there.I had seen Father Boyle recently at Campion. He was dying, but he was still able to talk, and we had a nice visit. I will always cherish my memories of this outstanding priest and Jesuit.I also know that he has prepared a farewell statement that will be read at the Labor Guild Dinner on Nov. 30.

Link to original blog post (here)

Non-Christian Mary Daly Was A Theology Professor At Boston College For Thirty-Three Years

A glimpse of this alternative vision can be garnered from a former nun who was the first American woman to receive a doctorate in theology. This individual, Mary Daly, is this nation's best-known feminist theologian and, amazingly enough, continued to teach theology at Boston College for many years after she repudiated her belief in Christianity. A clear indication of this repudiation is given in the following statement:

"The Immaculate Conception is the ultimate depiction of (prenatal) woman-battering, mythical model of incestuous assault. It is the primal rape of the arch-image. Within the mad ill-logic of dogmatic constructs, it is logically prior to the rape of the Virgin that takes place at the 'Annunciation,' when the adolescent Mary is told by the Angel Gabriel that she is to be the Mother of God and gives her fictitious assent. To put it in other words, as a consequence of her initial rape ('grace'), Mary has become totaled, unable to resist divine aggression/lust/rape. At the 'Annunciation' then, the already raped Mary consents' to further rape."

Fortunately, most women do not subscribe to the extreme views expressed above by Mary Daly. But many women, and far too many men, more or less agree with Daly's anthropological views. And these views are at total variance with Genesis 1:27 concerning the nature of mankind.Genesis 1:27 states, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." This passage, wrote Pope John Paul II, constitutes the "immutable basis of all Christian anthropology" (Mulieris Dignitatem, #6). Of critical importance is that mankind's imaging of God includes maleness and femaleness. This imaging not only resembles God in the Three Persons of the Trinity but is also the divine plan for the continuation of the human race. Therefore, just as the Three Persons of the Trinity -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- live in relationship to one another, men and women created in God's image must live in relationship to one another. This unique imaging of God only properly occurs when a man and a woman become a "unity of two" in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The receipt of God's grace through the proper administration of this Sacrament enables men and women to make a sincere "gift of self" to their spousal partner.

Unfortunately, feminists like Mary Daly and many others no longer accept these
Christian anthropological perspectives, and they have been busy working to
undermine them with assaults on the institution of marriage and the family.

Friedrich Engels, coauthor of The Communist Manifesto, believed that traditional feminine roles associated with marriage and family life led to the subjugation of women and, therefore, he proposed abolishing both institutions and raising children communally. Freeing women from the burden of raising children, Engels contended, would enable them to enter into the workforce and realize their potential. Anyone familiar with the rantings of many modern feminists can easily see the influence of Engels on their views.
An interviewwith Mary Daly in Enlightenment Magazine (here)

Link to the full New Oxford Review article entiteled "Two Marys Who Are Quite Contrary" (here)

Were Have All The Jesuits Gone? Fairfield College?

Strength in spirit: Number of Jesuits decline, identity increases
By: Kimberly Petrone

Plans for a new, green Jesuit residence will allow students to occupy the current Jesuit building. When James Fitzpatrick attended Fairfield in the late 1960s, there was no office of Jesuit mission and identity. Few volunteer or service trips were even offered. Students were required to go to mass on Sunday wearing a shirt and tie. There was also no Ignatian Residential College. There was a greater number of Jesuit priests teaching at that time, said Fitzpatrick, now assistant vice president for student affairs. But with all the additional Jesuit programs, he said the school is even stronger in its Jesuit identity today than he remembers it back then. "We are much more Jesuit now than when I was a student in the '60s," said Fitzpatrick '70. "We did not have many opportunities then that we have now." In 1970, there were 27 Jesuit faculty members out of 126 undergraduate faculty, or 21 percent, according to Fairfield's Web site. Now, there are four Jesuit faculty members out of 219, or 1.8 percent. Fairfield University President Fr. Jeffrey von Arx has openly noted the decline in Jesuit priests in a student news conference last month. He also said that in the future, the Jesuit ideals can be upheld without the bodily presence of Jesuits through other members of faculty and administration who realize the importance of the Jesuit mission. Fr. James Bowler, facilitator for Catholic and Jesuit mission and identity, agreed. He called for a "collaborative effort" among faculty, administrators and the Jesuits on campus to support the University's identity. Since the second Vatican Council, there has been an effort to support laity in church roles. This can also reference their roles as a part of a Jesuit institution. "We've got to train and empower non-Jesuits," said Fr. Bowler, who suggested there be a type of partnership between Jesuits and the laity. The problem is not restricted to Fairfield but is evident on other Jesuit campuses as well. In an article for Georgetown's student newspaper The Hoya in 2003, Georgetown professor Dennis McAullife wrote: "I now understand that the Jesuit and Catholic identity of Georgetown is not measured by the number of Jesuits active on campus. … Though not everyone on campus is Catholic or even religious, there is a culture of respect for the values Jesuits hold and teach that touches every aspect of campus life." Writer Peter Zysk found that between 2002 and 2005, the percentage of Jesuit faculty members at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. fell from 2.4 percent to 1.7 percent. "This leaves lay faculty with the job of figuring out how to provide a Jesuit education with fewer Jesuits," he wrote in a 2006 article for the Gonzaga Bulletin. Jesuits themselves are aware of the problem and are rethinking the ministry in terms of partnership with the laity. There is an "opportunity to breed a generation of lay faculty who understand tradition of Jesuits," said Paul Lakeland, director of the center for Catholic studies and himself a former Jesuit. With the problem of declining Jesuits becoming more apparent, "more people are now conscious of overall vision," said Lakeland. "Lay people, particularly faculty, want to believe they have just as much to offer to students as anyone else in terms of the educational mission," he said. FUSA President Hutch Williams '08 said the University has done a good job of hiring people who embody the ideals of Jesuits and teach accordingly. "Jesuits themselves have a unique way of teaching, but a lot of faculty embrace Jesuit ideals, and that is why they are here," said Williams. While the mission may be upheld, there are certain traditions that simply are not possible due to the lack of Jesuit priests on campus. For example,
Fr. Charles Allen remembers a time when there was a Jesuit living in every dorm
building on campus."There isn't really any way you can quite make up that loss there," said Allen, executive assistant to von Arx. "You never want to take away from the quality of lay teachers, but pure Jesuit spirit would be better if they were here."
Other schools have less of a problem. According to the Boston College Web site, there are 113 Jesuits in the BC community; half of them are involved part-time or full-time in the college's faculty and administration. This makes it one of the largest Jesuit communities of any college or university. Fairfield is currently in the process of building a new, smaller residence for the Jesuits, due in part to the lower number of Jesuit priests. Fr. Walter Conlan, a rector, coordinates apostolic activities and tends to the spiritual growth and care of the Jesuit community. He thinks that the new location, set behind the lawn of Bellarmine Hall, will be a more central location where the Jesuits can be closer to the community and students. The current larger residence along the southern perimeter of campus on Barlow Road will be converted to student housing, according to current plans. Fitzpatrick said he recognizes that with the decrease in the number of Jesuits on campus, the downside is that "you no longer have the opportunity to develop a relationship with some very fine priests."Yet with the more varied efforts to support the Jesuit mission and the growth of different programs, he said the same Jesuit education is still "here now if you want it."
link (here)

A Jesuit On Hugo Chavez And The Situation In Venezuela

Church refuses to back down from Chávez's verbal attacks
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's assault on the Catholic Church may dissuade voters Sunday from supporting changes that he wants.

Nov. 29, 2007
El Nuevo Herald
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez delivers a speech during a rally in Caracas on Tuesday. Venezuelans will decide Dec. 2 whether to approve constitutional changes that would let Chavez run for re-election indefinitely, extend presidential terms from six to seven years, and create new types of property to be managed by cooperatives and communities, among other changes.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's habit of verbally attacking his enemies appears to have backfired in his dealings with one of the country's most prestigious institutions -- a Catholic Church critical of the president. Even as he clashed in recent days with King Juan Carlos of Spain and President Alvaro Uribe from neighboring Colombia, the populist Chávez and top government officials were unleashing the worst crisis in church-state relations in decades.
Chávez threatened reprisals -- and even prison -- against Cardinal Jorge Urosa
Savino as church officials publicly criticized constitutional revisions proposed by the president -- and to be approved or rejected in a Sunday referendum -- as ``morally unacceptable.'' In a speech televised to this predominantly Catholic country, Chávez branded Urosa Savino as ''a thug,'' ''stupid,'' ''mentally retarded,'' ''sycophant'' and
defender of ``dark interests.''

But rather than shying away from confrontation with a popular and powerful president, the church fired back. ''Let them jail the cardinal and we'll see what happens in this country. . . . They are not going to shut us up with actions of that type,'' Msgr. Ovidio Pérez Morales, president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, said this week. The group is made up of the country's bishops.
The bishops have taken a stronger tone in their criticism of the government in recent days, leaving aside the prudence that characterized the church's public pronouncements for decades.
Msgr. Roberto Luckert, first vice president of the conference, charged Wednesday that the Chávez government is populated by ''a number of bums and corrupt persons'' and that corruption in the Chávez government is a ``rottenness that stinks not only in the country but at the international level.'' And after Jorge Rodríguez, the Venezuelan vice president and a trained psychiatrist, blamed the church Tuesday for the death of a 19-year-old worker during a street protest, Luckert replied: ``He who works with crazy people; something of those crazy people sticks to him.'' ''We bishops must respond to the president's gross manner,'' Luckert told El Nuevo Herald. Urosa Savino got backing from his colleagues in the College of Cardinals, especially
Honduras' Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, who on Saturday complained that the
Venezuelan church was in danger. ''It would not be unusual that a religious
persecution would be launched under any pretext, because totalitarian systems
start in that manner,''
declared Rodríguez Maradiaga, one of the most
influential cardinals in Latin America.
Analysts say such a frontal clash with the Catholic hierarchy could do Chávez more damage than good among followers of his ''21st century socialism,'' which promises to improve the lot of the country's poor. ''Experience in Venezuela has shown that one never wins confronting the church,'' said political analyst Manuel Felípe Sierra. ``One thing is to confront the spokesmen for the church and another is to confront the church as an institution with great prestige.''
Chávez's belligerence already has cost him the support of some within the church. ''We don't want violence, blood . . . but if the Chávez government is going to force us into street confrontations, we will be there,'' said the Rev. José Palmar, once an enthusiastic Chávez sympathizer but who in his weekly newspaper column has become a sharp critic of government corruption. Criticism also has come from traditionally liberal church figures such as theologian Pedro Trigo and well-regarded centers of Catholic studies such as the Gumilla Center and the Andrés Bello Catholic University, which have worked for decades in poor neighborhoods -- the strongest base of Chávez support.
"'The church is . . . pretty well united around its bishops,'' said the Rev. Arturo Peraza, a Jesuit who directs SIC magazine, the most influential of the country's Catholic publications.
The main criticism of Catholic sectors that are close to Chávez's pro-poor ideology, he added, is of the government's ``lack of capacity to respect others and the political dissidence.'' They also complain about a sharp spike in crime and insecurity under Chávez, he said, and the continuing shortage of housing and public-health services for the poor while Chávez has spent heavily on oil resources during almost a decade in power. Few believe the Chávez confrontation with the church leaders will develop beyond a war of words. ''Since he's a demagogue, he always tends to talk too much,'' Palmar said. ``If it jails the cardinal, it would be showing itself to be a fascist and communist government.''
Link to original piece (here)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

St. Edmund Campion, S.J. A Model For Today's Modern Jesuit

Ignatian Corner: Jesuits "brag" about Campion
By: Joseph J. Feeney, S.J.
His name was Campion-as in Campion Center at Saint Joseph's University. More formally, he was Edmund Campion, S.J., who lived as an Englishman, died as a martyr, and wrote a grand self-defense called "Campion's Brag." Born in London in 1540, he was caught in the English Reformation; and though Roman Catholic by birth, he and his parents became Protestants.
At Oxford, young Campion was brilliant-glorious as a student and so as a
professor that his students called themselves "Campionists."
Chosen at 26 years of age to welcome Queen Elizabeth to Oxford, he was so outstanding that the Queen tried to enlist him in her service. Campion had other plans: ordained an Anglican deacon, he was preparing to be a priest. But his studies brought him back to the Roman Catholic Church. In 1573, he became a Jesuit, taught and directed plays in Prague, was ordained a priest in 1578, and again won fame as a preacher in Prague. In 1580, he was called to help found the famous "English Mission" and minister to the Catholics there. The dangers, though, were quite real; though his mission was spiritual, he and his fellow Jesuits could easily be-and were-accused of treason against the Queen. They had to assume disguises, and Campion-presenting himself as a jeweler-landed at Dover on the morning of June 25, 1580. He had 17 months to live.
Reentering England, he described his mission in a statement now called "Campion's Brag." His "cause," he wrote, was "of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reforme sinners, to confute errors-in brief, to crie alarme spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance."
"I never had mind," he continued, and "am strictly forbidden . . . to deal in any respect with matter of State or Policy of this realm." He would, though, gladly enter into religious disputation-even with "the Queen my Sovereign Ladye"-so that "by good method and plain dealing" he might secure justice for English Catholics. He ended with a moving address to "The Lords of Her Majestie's Privy Council": "Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posteritie shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes." And touching our Societie, be it known to you that we have made a league-all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practices of England-cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons."
The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be
So the faith was planted: so it must be restored." And if he must die,
"I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almightie God,
the Searcher of Hearts, who send us His grace, and set us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten."
Convicted on false charges of treason, he died a traitor's death. On Dec. 1, 1581, he was hanged at Tyburn in London-near today's Marble Arch-then "drawn and quartered," which meant he was taken down from the gallows, then had his chest cut open and his heart and intestines ripped out. Fr. Edmund Campion was declared a saint in 1970. His feast-day is Dec. 1.

Link to original article in the Hawk (here)

Six Hundred Italian Parishoners Support Latin Mass In Italy

Italian bishop suspends priests for insisting on Latin Mass

Rome, Nov. 26, 2007 ( -

Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Itay, has suspended 3 priests who refused to celebrate Mass on Sunday, according to the newspaper La Stampa. Fathers Alberto Secci, Stefano Coggiola and Marco Pizzocchi refused to celebrate Sunday Masses after Bishop Corti said that they could not exclusively celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. In Father Alberto Secci’s parish, parishioners insisted that they would only attend a traditional Latin Mass celebrated by Father Secci. Six hundred people signed a petition in support of their parish priest. Father Stefano Coggiola’s parishioners were reportedly divided over their pastor’s decision. While one group supported the priest’s decision, another complained that their children did not like the Mass celebrated in Latin.

Hat tip to Spirit Daily link to original article (here)

Former Jesuit And Contriversial Episcopal Bishop

Gay bishop is wary of `religious right'
The first openly gay Episcopal bishop spoke about tolerance and understanding on Tuesday night at NSU in Broward County.
Nov. 28, 2007

People must ''rescue the Bible from the religious right'' and fight for civil rights to be extended to everyone, including gays and lesbians, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop said Tuesday night.
Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, told a crowd of about 150 people at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center in Davie that society suffers from a system set up to benefit heterosexual couples, which he called ``heterosexism.'' Only straight couples can marry in most states. In the military, gays and lesbians work under a ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy. And that system needs to end, Robinson said. ''We have lost the distinction between what the state does and what the church and synagogue does,'' Robinson said.
Robinson was named an Episcopal bishop in 2003. Afterward, several U.S. churches broke away from the Episcopal Church. His peech Tuesday night at NSU was part of the university's symposium on sexuality, morality and the law. Robinson cited the example of a man who beats up a gay man. A typical defense, he said, would be that the gay man made sexual advances at him. And some people, he said, would say that made the attack justified. But he said a similar defense would not work if the gay man were a woman. 'Can you imagine how empty the streets would be if we locked up every man who hit on a woman?'' Robinson asked. He urged Christians to take the Bible back from the ``religious right.'' As people change, their understanding of Scripture changes too, he said.''Just because God is perfect doesn't mean we perfectly understand God,'' Robinson said. During a question-and-answer session, two men implied implied that they disapproved of Robinson's homosexuality. ''Why do you know better or more than Jesus and the apostles?'' asked one of the men, Mike Ray, 36, of Sunrise.Robinson replied, ``I would be very nervous about anyone who claims to know what God thinks.''
Both times, when the men tried asking more questions, the crowd booed. Also in the audience was John J. McNeill, of Hollywood, an ordained Jesuit priest who said he was expelled from the Jesuit order after he criticized the Vatican's position on homosexuality. ''Having you come along and do such a beautiful job fills my heart with gratitude and joy,'' McNeill said.
Link to original story (here)

It's A One Man Show

“Just go find another parish”
Controversial poster promoting parish carnival leads to discord at Hollywood church
A poster promoting a 2006 parish carnival at Hollywood’s Blessed Sacrament Church has provoked a series of escalating problems – to the point that some parishioners have asked the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to reign in their pastor. Parishioner Larry Bugbee, spokesman for the “Committee of Hundreds of Parishioners and Friends” of Blessed Sacrament parish, says that their pastor, Fr. Michael Mandala, S.J., has promoted indecent entertainment at the last two parish carnivals, which included scantily-clad dancers making sexually suggestive movements in front of an audience of all ages. Parish were able to see this poster inside and outside the Church aT
The committee’s foremost complaint is over a poster promoting the 2006 carnival,
which prominently displayed photographs of scantily clad women in suggestive poses. When a similar poster was circulated for the 2007 carnival, Fr. Mandala told one parishioner, “It’s not as bad as last year’s.” According to the Los Angeles archdiocese’s document Respecting the Boundaries, “sexual abuse can include… showing sexually suggestive objects or pornography." Bugbee says the carnival poster fits that description. “All the children of Blessed Sacrament nd school buildings,” he said. “Any child and any adult anywhere in the world was able to look at this poster for most of a year on the Blessed Sacrament website.”
Copies of the 2006 poster have been hand-delivered to Cardinal Roger Mahony, as well as his Vicar for Clergy, the Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board and the director of Safeguard the Children for the Archdiocese. In March 2007, a detailed letter was delivered to the same people, as well as to the Jesuit provincial. One of the signers of the letter was a former prioress of the Monastery of the Angels, a cloistered Dominican nun who lives near the parish. Neither Cardinal Mahony nor anyone else from the Archdiocese has responded to the letter, Bugbee said. During the 2006 carnival, parishioner Russell Brown came out of church after Mass to find several men whistling. He witnessed a female performer shaking her breasts, then her buttocks onstage.

Before the 2007 carnival, the committee persuaded associate pastor Fr. Wayne
Negrete to ask Fr. Mandala to do three things:

(1) Throw away the posters or cut the offensive photo from them;

(2) Write a letter to the entertainers giving them a clear code of conduct for the event; and

(3) Appoint monitors from within the parish to ask entertainers to stop any sexually explicit behavior onstage if it should occur.

Instead, says Bugbee, Fr. Mandala ignored their requests. With 2,900 families registered at the parish, Bugbee says thousands of children and teens were exposed to the posters and entertainment. Bugbee says he has incurred Fr. Mandala’s wrath for taking a stand. On Oct. 23, 2006, Fr. Mandala, flanked by security guards, snatched posters from Bugbee’s hands when Bugbee was cleaning up after the carnival, he said. One guard, Isabel Avina, shouted, “Get the hell out of here!” according to Bugbee. Bugbee says he responded by asking Fr. Mandala if he thought any employee should talk to any parishioner that way. One week later, Mandala arranged for and supervised the towing of Bugbee’s car from the Church parking lot after Mass. The pastor also threatened to take out a restraining order against Bugbee, Bugbee said. For his part,
Fr. Mandala says there is no committee of hundreds. “It’s just Larry Bugbee, and he’s a one-man show,” said Fr. Mandala, who also says the posters were not inappropriate. “His read on the posters is very far off,” said Fr. Mandala. “We’ve shown them to legal counsel for the archdiocese, the provincial for the [Jesuit] order. He’s trying to tell the church, social services and every other administration how they should be running things. Even [Auxiliary] Bishop [Edward] Clark wrote him a letter saying to just go find another parish.”
Fr. Mandala also has a different take on the allegations of assault and illegal towing. “He (Bugbee) was in front of the church, waving these posters, saying something like, ‘Look what they do around here’ to this terrified woman,” said Fr. Mandala. “We told him to get out of here and the security guard reinforced that. Sure we had his car towed away. He was selling things here – pamphlets -- out of the back of his car. We told him that this was absolutely forbidden. He left his car here on private property and took off. At some point I was told we had a car in the lot that didn’t belong and I had it towed just like I would anybody else.” Bugbee laughed when asked to respond to Fr. Mandala’s explanations. “There was a lady on the church porch and I was showing her the poster, but that was before he came,” said Bugbee. “She wasn’t terrorized. The only thing that’s true is that years ago, I offered subscriptions to Magnificat to a few -- very few --interested people in the parish. He keeps dragging that up and it was years ago. This is beyond belief. It’s downright pitiful. When we sent that ten page letter to the diocese, we had literally dozens of signatures on it. We would have had hundreds, but that takes a lot of time and we needed to get the letter off.”
© California Catholic Daily 2007. All Rights Reserved

Link to original article and pictures of the poster (here)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Diogenes On Arrupe

what might have been
Posted by: Diogenes - Nov. 26, 2007 9:04 AM ET USA
The mid-1960s were a time in which many traditional authority figures suffered a massive moral collapse. Accustomed to having their directives followed without question, and psychologically unprepared for widespread disobedience, they crumpled under the pressures brought by fractious and newly hostile subordinates. Some attempted to salvage external tokens of respect by issuing only those orders they believed would be welcomed and which thus stood a fair chance of being "obeyed" -- i.e., to save face, authorities learned to command their subjects to do what they were inclined to do anyway. Yet there must have been a moment for these authorities in which the outcome of the conflict was uncertain, when collapse wasn't yet inevitable and the future hung in the balance -- when, that is, they might still have demanded, and received, obedience. This possibility came to mind when reading about Georgetown's recent commemoration of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, the Jesuit Superior General (1965-1983), who may serve as a paradigm specimen of eviscerated authority, 1960s-style. Arrupe is predictably praised by his admirers for his leadership, compassion, and vision -- by which they mean that he capitulated exceptionlessly to demands for relaxation of discipline and for liberal innovation.
As with most of his coeval authority figures, though, it wasn't inevitable that Arrupe would go squishy. Reaching way, way back into the archives of the National Catholic Reporter (September 18th, 1968), we find a translation of Arrupe's letter to the Jesuits (dated August 15th, 1968) concerning the Society's response to the just-issued papal encyclical Humanae vitae. Read it carefully, and see if you don't get the sense that obedience and fidelity were still a real possibility at the time:
Dear Fathers and Brothers,
Pax Christi
We are all aware of the response given to the most recent
encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae vitae, about the problems raised by the
question of contraception. While many completely accept the teaching of the
encyclical, a number of the clergy, religious and laity violently reject it in a
way that no one in the Society can think of sharing. Yet, because the opposition
to the encyclical has become widespread in some places, I wish to delay no
longer before calling to mind once more our duty as Jesuits. With regard to the
successor of Peter, the only response for us is an attitude of obedience which
is at once loving, firm, open and truly creative. I do not say that this is
necessarily painless and easy. In fact, on various grounds and because of
particular competence, some of us may experience certain reservations and
difficulties. A sincere desire to be truly loyal does not rule out problems, as
the Pope himself says. A teaching such as the one he presents merits assent not
simply because of the reasons he offers, but also, and above all, because of the
charism which enables him to present it. Guided by the authentic word of the
Pope -- a word that need not be infallible to be highly respected -- every
Jesuit owes it to himself, by reason of his vocation, to do everything possible
to penetrate, and to help others penetrate, into the thought which may not have
been his own previously; however, as he goes beyond the evidence available to
him personally, he finds or will find a solid foundation for it. To obey,
therefore, is not to stop thinking, to parrot the encyclical word for word in a
servile manner. On the contrary, it is to commit oneself to study it as
profoundly as possible so as to discover for oneself and to show others the
meaning of an intervention judged necessary by the Holy Father. Once we have
correctly grasped the meaning of the encyclical, let us not remain passive. Let
us not be afraid to rectify our teaching, if need be, while at the same time
explaining why we are doing so. Let us develop our teaching as profoundly as
possible rather than restrict it. Let is strive for a better pastoral theology
of the family and of the young people. We must not forget that our present
world, for all its amazing scientific conquests, is sadly lacking a true sense
of God and is in danger of deceiving itself completely. We must see what is
demanded of us as Jesuits. Let us collaborate with others in centers of the
basic research on man, where the specific data of Christian revelation can be
brought together with the genuine achievements of the human sciences and thus
achieve the happy results that can be legitimately anticipated. In all this work
of sympathy, intelligence, and love, let us always be enlightened by the Gospel
and by the living tradition of the Church. Let us never abandon the papal
teaching we have just received. Rather, we must continually seek to integrate it
into an ever-widening anthropology. The present crisis makes clear this urgent
need.In so fulfilling our mission as Jesuits, which is to make the thought of
the Church understood and loved, we can help the laity, who themselves have much
to bring to the problems touched on in the encyclical, and who rely on us for a
deep understanding of their points of view.You understand well that it is the
spirit of the Constitutions which inspires me as I write these words. For, as
the Constitutions tell us in substance, each member of the Society must remember
that his personal manner of serving God is realized through a faithful obedience
to the Roman Pontiff. That is why I am certain that today too, the Society is
able to show itself worthy of four centuries of complete fidelity to the Holy
See. It certainly cannot be said that the Second Vatican Council has changed all
this. The Council itself speaks formally of "this religious submission of
will and of mind,"
which "must be shown in a special way to the
authentic teaching authority of the Roman pontiff, even when he is not speaking
ex cathedra. That is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme
magisterium is acknowledged with reverence and the judgments made by him
sincerely adhered to according to his manifest mind and will
" (Lumen
Gentium, n.25). Nor can it be said that the Pope was speaking of matters that do
not involve our faith, since the essence of his teaching directly concerns the
human and divine dignity of man and of love. In the enormous crisis of growth
which envelops the whole world, the Pope himself has been what the entire Church
must be, and Vatican II affirmed, "both a sign and a safeguard of the
transcendence of the human person"
(Gaudium et Spes, n.76). For this reason
the service we as Jesuits owe to the Holy Father and to the Church is at the
same time a service we owe to humanity itself. In my awareness of our obvious
duty as Jesuits I could say much more, particularly at this time which seems to
me crucial for the Church. Difficult times are times made for the Society, not
to seeks its own glory, but to show its fidelity. This is why I am certain that
all of you will understand my words. As for those for whom the encyclical
presents personal problems of conscience, I wish to assure them that for that
very reason I am keeping them in my affection and prayers. May St. Ignatius help
each of us to become, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, more Ignatian than ever.
May he obtain for us the understanding that our legitimate desire to be totally
present to this world demands of us an ever-increasing fidelity in the service
of the Church, the Spouse of Christ and the Mother of all mankind.I commend
myself to the prayers of all of you.
Most devotedly in Christ,
Pedro Arrupe, S.J.,
Praep. Gen. Soc. Iesu.

Now that's a pretty good letter. OK, it might be pointed out that there are some "nuanced" expressions in the instruction (e.g., the call for a "truly creative" attitude of obedience) that might be taken as wink-nudge permission for dissent; and of course when a senior ecclesiastic says "we must not remain passive," our spontaneous reaction is to understand it as a coded plea to do just that: nothing. But that's to read Arrupe though the lens of the Church of 2007. He may have been a cynic even in 1968, but my own hunch is that he was sincere, and that he would have been gratified to receive the response of heartfelt obedience, even if he wasn't prepared to demand it.
Suppose, if only for the sake of argument, that Arrupe wrote this letter not simply to lay down smoke and confuse the Holy Office but that he was still capable of candor. Suppose he meant what he said. The question then suggests itself: if the Society of Jesus had offered wholehearted obedience in response to Arrupe's appeal concerning Humanae vitae, if Jesuits had taken his admonitions to heart and put their collective mind, will, and strength behind the papal teaching at this crucial time -- IF, contrary to fact, Arrupe had received what he asked for, how might the Church (and the world) be different today?
Almost hurts to think about.
Link to original piece (here)