Monday, August 30, 2010

Fr. James Martin, S.J. Belives In Liberation Theology

Pope John Paul II admonishing  Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, S.J.
In its heyday, liberation theology was not without controversy: some in the church, and some in the Vatican, thought it skirted too close to Marxism--including Pope John Paul II.  On the other hand, John Paul didn’t shy away from personally involving himself in direct political activism in Poland.  It was the Latin American version of social action that seemed to bother him more.  But even John Paul affirmed the notion of “preferential option for the poor,” as did Paul VI before him.  “When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the defenseless and the poor have a claim to special consideration,” John Paul wrote in his great encyclical Centesimus Annus, which celebrated 100 years of—uh oh--Catholic Social Teaching. “Liberation theology” is easy to be against.  For one thing, most people don’t have the foggiest idea what you’re talking about.  (It even sounds vaguely suspicious, too.)  It’s also easier to ignore the concerns of the poor, particularly overseas, than it is to actually get to know them as individuals who make a moral claim on us.  For another, there are lots of overheated websites that facilely link it to Marxism.  My response to that last critique is to read the Gospels and count how many times Jesus tells us with should help the poor and even be poor.  In the Gospel of Matthew, in fact, Jesus tells us that the ones who are to enter the Kingdom of heaven are those who help “the least of my brothers and sisters,” i.e., the poor.   After that, read the Acts of the Apostles, and read about the apostles “sharing everything in common.”  Then let me know if helping the poor is communist or simply Christian. I have no idea if President Obama subscribes to liberation theology. But I do.
Link (here) to read the full post entitled, Glenn Beck and Liberation Theology by Fr. James Martin, S.J.
Link (here) to the photo and lengthy  story of “Pope John Paul II on his 1983 arrival in Managua, publicly reprimanded Jesuit priest and Sandinista Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal."

More on the subject
An interview with sanctioned Fr. Jon Sobrino, S.J. in Sojourners Magazine (here)
More on Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor program in Washington, D.C. (here)
Read about the Italian Father Alighiero Tondi, S.J. and his Communist connections with the Catholic Action Movement (here) as told by Time Magazine
Jesuit Education and Social Change in El Salvador By Charles Joseph Beirne, S.J.
Go (here) to read the one time Jesuit Fr. Malachi Martin on Liberation Theology in his famous book entitled, The Jesuits.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, "Get Men To Follow Virtue And To Flee From Vice"

When you are explaining the " Exercises," and giving the reason of them, and in general when speaking in any conversation, do not think you are talking in private, but in public, so as to measure your words, and to say nothing you would not wish every one to know. In giving the " Exercises," make it a rule not to give more than the first week, except to very few who have to make choice of a state of life by the " rules of election." Do not allow them to bind themselves by vows, neither put them into very small rooms. Soften down the laws and prescriptions of the " Exercises " when needful, and especially for those who have to go through them in their entirety.
In the method of teaching Catechism to children suit yourselves to their age, so as sweetly to teach them the mysteries of our faith, and explain them according to the capacity and condition of your hearers. And commence these instructions by briefly exhorting those present to cause God by their prayers to be gracious to the holy Council. Every four days you will in turn visit the public hospitals at an hour which is not inconvenient to the sick, and besides hearing their confessions, try to console them and to assuage their sufferings, not merely by kind words, but with some little present, as far as you are able. And admonish them also to pray God for the Council which has been opened.
In every conversation you chance to have, spy out an occasion for that most important of all matters, to exhort people to repentance and to all other virtues, and ever keep before your eyes to seek the good, not of one only, but of the whole Christian world. So, as in discussions and arguments it is well to be brief; in order, however, to get men to follow virtue and to flee from vice, your speech should be long, and full of charity and kindness."
Link (here) to the portion of the book entitled, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Early Jesuits. This is a portion of a letter from St. Ignatius to his brethren at the Council of Trent 

Jesuit On Dessert And St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
In Jesuit communities in the U.S. there is almost always some dessert option after dinner. If you are as lucky as I have been in the past three years, you are blessed to live in a community where the cook is particularly talented with cakes and desserts. So when I came to Rome, I was sad to hear that we wouldn't have that everyday here.  Now don't get me wrong, I certainly don't need dessert. In fact, truth be told, I am better off without it, but it seemed like it just might be one more annoying cultural adjustment that I would have to make, then I strangely realized that I kind of liked it.
Link (here) to the entire blog post that is really not about dessert but real nice reflection on St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. John of the Cross entitled, The Road From LaSorta by Scholastic Micheal Rogers, S.J.

Fr. James Martin, S.J. On Fr. Philip Endean, S.J.

Very strong words from a leading English Jesuit on the process that led to the new Mass translations, which were approved this week.  Philip Endean, a former editor of "The Way" who now teaches at Oxford, critiques the complicated wrangling over the translations in a hard-hitting article in this week's Tablet, which is available online (here).
Link (here) to America magazines blog, In All Things.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Mass I Attend

The Mass I attend at Georgetown is fairly traditional, and during Lent, the choir sings the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God in Latin.  The combination of the mystical, unintelligible words and my new understanding of the tradition behind it left me to find tears in the corners of my eyes once or twice.
Link (here) to to the post entitled, Choosing to be Catholic at the blog by Jordan Denari.

Deep Regrets

“The British Jesuits have fully noted the judgment of the Court of Appeal and are discussing its implications with their legal advisers. They recognize the claimant’s right to proceed with his claim for damages. And they deeply regret any abuse he suffered during his time at Preston Catholic College.”
Link (here) to read the depressing story

American Encouragement

An American Jesuit, John Courtney Murray, was decisive in shaping Dignitatis Humanae (1965)—the Declaration on Religious Liberty, in which the Second Vatican Council endorsed religious freedom for all people. In this sense, the American acceptance and encouragement of Catholic parishes and schools once seen as threatening, reshaped an international religious institution.
Link (here) to the full blog  post at  The New York Review of Books

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When Jesuits Decide To Leave The Society

When Jesuits decide to leave the Society, as a result, it can be an extremely jarring moment for us when we hear the news. This past year, we saw many men in our company who chose to leave their lives as Jesuits. We ask the question ‘why?’ and wonder what events transpired that led to such a decision. There is that feeling that a member of our spiritual family who has been with us for so much time has decided to leave us. These departures inevitably challenge the vocations of us who continue on with this life as we ask ourselves why we stay. This vocational challenge, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. About a month ago, while I was taking my day off from my work in LA, I was relaxing at our LA villa house near Redondo Beach when I received a phone call. I was excited to see that it was from John and very much looked forward to sharing our summer experiences and how it was going so far. John first asked about how my summer was, and I shared a little bit about what I was doing at Dolores Mission and Homeboy Industries. After I was done sharing, John went on to remark: “So Ryan, I’ve made my decision…”
Go (here) to read the touching and heartfelt post at the blog entitled, Living My Jesuit Call by Ryan Rallenka, S.J.

Jesuit Meeting With The Holy Father This Weekend

Pope Benedict XVI is meeting with Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., and several other former students in his annual Schülerkereis at Castel Gandolfo. The topic for this gathering, which meets tomorrow and Saturday, is the hermeneutics of the Second Vatican Council.
Link (here) to Insight Scoop

It’s Like A Dominican Being A Postulator For A Jesuit,

Fr. Paolo Molinari, S.J.
Then the question was: “Who’s going to be the postulator for Mother Teresa?” Initially, we were kind of wondering, well maybe other people, and then we went to the Jesuits — Father Paolo Molinari was the Jesuit postulator general, and Father Peter Gumpel — and they said, “No, we won’t take it. It actually should be one of you, because if you’re presenting a person and a charism, it’s like a Dominican being a postulator for a Jesuit, which of course would never happen.”
Link (here) to The National Catholic Register

The Meat Puppets On Thier Brophey Jesuit Education

The Meat Puppets, Circa 1982
“Mom decided that Curt and I should to go the Jesuit high school in town, Brophey College Prep. It had its good side, which is that the Jesuits were intellectually stimulating, or whatever. But it had its down side, in that you’re goin’ to school with all these f@ckin’ Arizonan children, the rich kids. You know, it was kind of like the ‘styley-phoofey school.’ I went to school with [Supreme Court Justice] Sandra Day O’Connor’s son, who happened to be a real nice guy. “But other people, like the son of a famed heart doctor went there also,” Cris said. “And he was kind of a lunkhead jock. But because his dad’s a rich guy or whatnot, he gets to be the quarterback! So I found out early on that I could distance myself from all these other people who were listening to Boston and whatnot, by digging a little deeper into these different types of music that were out there, that I was slowly discovering. I went and saw just a truckload of bands. And since Phoenix is close to Los Angeles, you got a lot of concerts here back in the ’70s. It was nominally that I wanted to be different, but it was also that I suddenly realized that there was just a ton more cool music out there.“The down side of going through the school experience for Curt and I was all these f@ckin’ spoiled rich Catholic kids that had all gone to parochial grade schools, and we hadn’t,” Cris explained. “I was one of just a couple of kids form my grade school that went to the Jesuit high school, where a lot of these cliques were already formed. Just because of the kind of people that we are, I was later told this by my hippie dope dealer friend, Dealer Dan: ‘You’ve just got an aura, dude!’ Meaning, we’re the kind of people that other people like to attack.
Link (here) to The Meat Puppets website

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fr. Cornelius Buckley, S.J. And Mother Teresa

One hundred years to the day after Mother Teresa was born, Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula — where the famed humanitarian once spoke — held a Mass in her honor Thursday. About 150 students and teachers from the college, along with a small number of parishioners from around the county, attended the event. The Rev. Cornelius Buckley, a Jesuit priest, offered Mass and praised Mother Teresa for transforming her love for Jesus Christ into help for the sick and dying. He urged his listeners to see the caregiver, who died in l997, as a “spiritual guide.” He quoted from a commencement speech that Mother Teresa gave to the graduating class at Thomas Aquinas in l982, in which she told students that “the fruit of faith is always love. And the fruit of love is action.”
Link (here) to read the full article.

Despite What The Church Teaches

Certainly Catholic theologians have not been shy about addressing the questions that evolution raises for doctrines like original sin and the immateriality of the soul. In the 1960s, 
Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner re-interpreted Genesis in light of evolution, arguing that the story of Adam and Eve needed to be read metaphorically. 
John Haught at Georgetown writes that the new cosmology of the expanding universe and the evolution of life require a more dynamic sense of God's role in a world that is still not complete, a work in progress.
Link (here) to the full article that is quite a good read at The Wall Street Journal.

What the Church teaches in regards to Adam and Eve (here) and Original Sin (here)

New Orleans Jesuit House Caught On Fire

Things really heated up at the Jesuit house this year for feast of St. Ignatius. Around 9 a.m. July 31st a fire started on the third floor of Loyola’s Jesuit house located on St. Charles Avenue. Loyola Professor and Rector of New Orleans Jesuit Community, The Rev. Peter Rogers S.J., went to the scene after receiving a call from The Rev. John Stacer, S.J., a former Loyola professor, telling him “the fire alarm has gone off and there’s smoke coming out of the house,” Rogers said. The New Orleans Fire Department was quick to respond to the alarm. “By the time I got into the parking lot, two fire trucks had already pulled up,” Rogers said. One of the first fire crews into the building was Squrt 16. Among them was former Loyola student Capt. Jon Bialas. “I didn’t realize it was their building until I arrived on the scene and saw the Jesuits out front,” Bialas said. “But it only distracted me for a brief second.” Rogers recognized him as a former student in the moments before Bialas entered the burning building. “When you’re in the fire you’re trying to think of a thousand things at once and prevent yourself from having tunnel vision,” Bialas said. “That’s when you get into trouble.” According to Rogers the fire started on the third floor and spread to the attic, damaging the roof. “We did a good job,” Bialas said. “All the men worked their hearts out and we were able to salvage most of the house.”
Link (here) to The Marooon

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Outright Rebellion" At Georgetown

A new organization which aims to persuade Catholics to support same-s@x “marriage”—in part by targeting students at Catholic colleges and universities—was co-founded by employees of Georgetown University “ Catholics for Equality represents outright rebellion—‘mutiny’ in the words of one of the group’s founders—in opposition to the U.S. bishops and Catholic doctrine,” wrote Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society, in a letter yesterday to Georgetown President John DeGioia. The Cardinal Newman Society is urging DiGioia to ensure that employees of the Catholic Jesuit university do not participate in the new dissident organization. Rev. Joseph Palacios, (former Jesuit) Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies, convened a meeting of 20 activists in January to found Catholics for Equality. Sivagami Subbaraman, Director of Georgetown’s LGBT/Q Resource Center, was one of the founders.
Link (here) to the lengthy piece at The Cardinal Newman Society.

One Time Jesuit Malachi Martin On The "Signs Of The Times"

“The most pathetic among us are those who are especially skillful in analyzing material trends like the weather, the stock market, the latest political omens, and the most up-to-date vogue in fashions and sexual mores, but who cannot read what Christ emphasized as those telltale ‘signs of the times.’
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Link (here) to a great article on Malachi Martin the author of The Jesuits, in the South Coast Report

Jesuit Lost, In Translation

Pope John Paul II announced the new missal in 2000 and it was first published in Latin in 2002. It's the first significant change in the English translation since the Mass was first celebrated in English after Vatican II in the 1960s, said the Rev. Thomas Reese of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "It will impact every Catholic in every parish because they will have to learn new responses in place of the ones they have been using since Vatican II," Reese said. "I believe that the new translations are a step backwards and confusing to the people in the pews." 
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Link (here) to read the full article at The Washington Post

Former Jesuit Continues Legal Fight

Donald McGuire
A former Jesuit priest, convicted in 2005 for indecent behavior with children in the 1960s, failed in his constitutional challenge to Wisconsin’s statute of limitations.
In State v. McGuire, 2010 WI 91 (July 20, 2010), the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed an appeals court order that denied Donald McGuire’s postconviction motion for relief. McGuire challenged on constitutional grounds Wis. Stat. section 939.74, under which prosecutions are subject to a six-year statute of limitations. But the time limitations period stops running during periods that an actor is not publicly a resident of the state. McGuire was charged in 2005 for crimes that occurred in Wisconsin between 1966-68, but at all times lived in the Chicago area. He challenged the Wisconsin statute mainly on the grounds that section 939.74, as applied to him, violated his constitutional rights under the privileges and immunities, equal protection, and due process clauses of the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions.
Link (here) to the Wisconsin Bar.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fr. Herbert Thurston, S.J. On The Crucifix Of Limpias

The manifestations ( Regina Sanctorum Omnium ) at Rome in 1796, at ( Mother of Mercy ) Rimini in 1850, and at Campocavallo, near Loreto, in 1892-1893, are particularly famous. But the manifestations which have been described, often at length, by the witnesses of these occurrences are certainly trivial when placed in comparison with the accounts which pilgrims to the Spanish shrine have left of their subjective impressions when gazing at the Santo Cristo of Limpias. Take, for example, the testimony of a well-known priest of Saragossa, Don Manuel Cubi, on December 24, 1919. He was, he says, saying Mass at the high altar :— 
As I raised my eyes to the Santo Cristo after the Confiteor I was surprised by the most touching spectacle that I have ever seen. I saw Jesus in the pangs of death, saw Him move, open and close His mouth ; He drew a deep breath, so that His breast was lifted from the cross ; His hps quivered and His face became distorted. I could swear that He was covered in sweat and that the upper part of His body was stretching upwards. I could follow no more. When I had gone up the steps, I held fast to the altar ; I know that I did not look in the Missal at first. At length I began the votive Mass of the Holy Cross ; but it was only thanks to the assistance of the other priest that I could go on reading. . . . When I arose from the genuflection at the words, " Omne genu flectatur" the Figure had changed. From now on I watched with the closest attention and interior emotion. Now the sacred countenance was transfigured into startling beauty, almost joyful in expression, and this impression remained with me during the whole Mass.
Link (here) to the referenced portion of the book entitled Studies, the article by Fr. Herbert Thurston, S.J. is entitled, The Crucifix of Limpias.

Jesuit On The Distintive Nature Of The Spiritual Exercises

What is emphatically distinctive in the " Exercises " is their coherence. With inexorable logic, each conclusion is deduced from what has been antecedently admitted as indisputable. Thus, at the end of the first " week ", it is clear that mortal sin is an act or condition of supreme folly; and in the course of the second, third, and fourth, we are made to see that unless a man chooses that particular state of life to which God calls him, or unless he puts to rights the one he is already in, he has no character, no courage, with no virility, no gratitude to God, and no sense of danger.

Link (here) to read the cited portion of the book, The Jesuits, 1534-1921 by Fr. Thomas J. Campbell, S.J. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moved With A Desire Of Serving You, Vow Before The Most Sacred Virgin Mary, And The Whole Court Of Heaven

"Almighty, everlasting God, I, John McLaughlin . . . moved with a desire of serving You, vow before the most sacred Virgin Mary, and the whole court of heaven, to Your divine majesty, perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus," When Nixon Aide John McLaughlin became a Jesuit in 1947, that traditional vow was strictly interpreted. Moreover, Jesuits lived in community in their own houses, wore only black, and worked mostly in missionary or teaching assignments. In recent years all that has been changing. Some members of the Society of Jesus rent their own apartments, wear business suits or blue jeans, and work at various professions, including politics. Plastic Piece. McLaughlin, now 47, has become one of this new breed. Once an editor on America magazine and a popular lecturer on sex ("Intimacy Before Marriage," "Intimacy Outside Marriage"), McLaughlin turned to politics in 1970. He became a Republican, ran for the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island (John Pastore retained the seat), and then in 1971 went to work as a speechwriter on the White House staff at a salary of about $30,000. To distinguish between his sacerdotal and political roles, he abandoned the Roman collar ("a one-inch piece of plastic") except for church events. Last week McLaughlin's superior, the Very Rev. Richard Cleary, Jesuit provincial of New England, issued a statement dissociating the Society of Jesus from McLaughlin's views and summoned him to report to Boston for prayer and reflection. 
Link (here) to read the full Time Magazine article.

They Met In A Bookstore

John and Cristina McLaughlin
It has been a rough season for the May-December marriages of broadcast titans. Larry King's eighth marriage, to much-younger Shawn Southwick King, hit the skids last week. Now we've learned that John McLaughlin has quietly divorced his much-younger wife of 13 years, Cristina. "He's very sad about it, but it's something he needed to do," his attorney Gregory Nugent told us. The TV punditry pioneer, 83, referred inquiries to his lawyer; we couldn't reach his ex, 49, for comment. They met in a bookstore in 1990, the story went, and the former Jesuit priest later hired the young Dominican-born Cristina Vidal to work at the "McLaughlin Group" production company. About five years after his contentious divorce from former labor secretary Ann Dore, they wed in June 1997 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown. She was nearly half his age.
Link (here) to Reliable Sources

Stumbling Upon The Truth

The television commentator and former Jesuit, John McLaughlin, used to make me laugh when he would tell a panelist of an opposing political view: "Once again you've stumbled upon the truth, even though you don't know how you got there."
Link (here) to the Seeking Alpha blog

Fr. Mitch Interviews Archbishop Raymond Burke

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. conducts a fascinating interview with Archbishop Raymond Burke, watch it (here) at Gloria.tv

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jesuit On The Shaping Of The Society Of Jesus Of Tomorrow

Jesuits of my generation often do a real injustice to our younger brethren, for instance, by applying to them labels borrowed from the debates of the 1960s that have long outlived their applicability; 
as a result, we fail to perceive where the Spirit is really moving in the Church of today and shaping the Society of Jesus of tomorrow. 
The facile use of labels can undermine mutual trust and hinder the common life of prayer and spiritual conversation.

Link (here) to the piece by Fr. Brian Daley, S.J. entitled, As I See It.

Prominent Dissenter Is Former Jesuit Currently Teaching At Georgetown

Prominent Catholic dissenters have created an organization to promote homs@xual political causes and to change Catholic opinion through coordination with other activists. Organized explicitly to oppose the U.S. bishops, the group’s website asks for reports of “anti-equality activity” in Catholic parishes. The group Catholics for Equality’s website, which is still under construction, reports that the organization is dedicated to “support, educate, and mobilize equality-supporting Catholics to advance LGB/T equality at federal, state, and local levels.” ......Catholics for Equality’s organizational meeting was convened by Washington attorney Phil Attey and Rev. Dr. Joe Palacios, (here), (here) , (here) and (here) described as a Jesuit priest from Los Angeles who is currently on the Georgetown University faculty.
Link (here) to the full Catholic News Agency article. 
Blogger Note: The article seems to be incorrect, Joe Palacios is not a Jesuit, an anonymous commenter states that he left the Society a few years ago. Websites leave the impression that he is currently a Jesuit, his Georgetown bio has no S.J. after his name.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jesuits To Work With The Order Of Malta In Haitian Project

Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx says the school won't abandon the Haitian victims of alumnus Douglas Perlitz and that it is actively working to reopen the Project Pierre Toussaint facilities in Cap-Haitien.

Perlitz, 40, once honored by the university for his humanitarian work with impoverished boys in Haiti, admitted in federal court this week to engaging in s@ with one boy. He did not dispute prosecutors' claims that evidence showed he had engaged in s@ with at least eight underage boys and as many as 13 while in Haiti.

In a letter to the Connecticut Post, von Arx said helping the poor and underprivileged is a cornerstone of the mission of the Jesuit-run university, and the tragedy of what happened to Perlitz's victims will leave a lasting impact on those boys. "We will not abandon our efforts to help Perlitz's victims," von Arx said.

Von Arx said the university has a long history of dedication to service. "The tragic circumstances surrounding the former Project Pierre Toussaint boys are no exception to this rule," he said. "Discussions we initiated with The Haiti Fund board and with the Order of Malta earlier this year remain active, and we are hopeful that a partnership among charitable organizations can be created so the facilities in Cap-Haitien can be reopened."
Link (here) to read the full article in the Stamford Advocate

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Homeland Security And Fairfield University

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations office in Boston, announced that Douglal Perlitz, 40, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit s@xual conduct.  In pleading guilty, Perlitz, a former Connecticut resident and the founder and director of Project Pierre Toussaint, a boys school in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, admitted that, on various dates between 2001 and 2008, he traveled from the United States to Haiti and engaged in illicit s@xual conduct with eight minor victims.
Link (here) to the full and lengthy article in the Minuteman News Center.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thomas Weld, "An Exceptionally Generous Jesuit Benefactor"

The private notebook of Thomas Weld has been discovered at a convent in Waldron, Sussex, 225 years after it was written. The convent belongs to the Order of the Visitation, and it was Weld’s daughter, Mary Teresa, who was the first Englishwoman to join. The notebook reveals Weld’s intense piety through his daily routine of prayers, daily Mass, and twice-daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Thomas Weld was born in 1750 into a wealthy recusant family. The second-largest landowner and one of the richest men of his day, Weld was a friend of George III and knew Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minister, and was among the first English Catholics to entertain the King. But Weld is now known chiefly for his work in aid of Catholic religious orders, fleeing the French Revolution. It was Weld who gave his estate at Stonyhurst to the Jesuits. A spokesman for the Society of Jesus said that Weld was an “exceptionally generous benefactor” who had a reputation for piety and hospitality, “not only to the Jesuits … but also to other religious orders of the 18th century”. He added that “any document written by him will undoubtedly provide a window into his motivation and his faith”.
Link (here) to the full article at The Catholic Herald.

Jesuit Park

Statue of Ivan Franko
In the second half of the 16th century, Jan Scholz-Wolfowich, a wealthy Lviv citizen, spent 1,600 gold pieces to lay out plans for the Jesuit Park, which today is known as Ivan Franko Park and is located across the street from Ukraine’s first university, founded in 1661
Link (here) to read the full article.
Who is Ivan Franko? (here) and (here)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. On Christianity And Islam

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
Many American Christians want to better understand Islam but find that the more closely they approach this enigmatic faith, the more complex it seems. Since the Koran is not organized chronologically or thematically, it is difficult for the non-Muslim to make sense of it. The Koran appears so strange to Western eyes that many readers find it difficult to find a firm starting point to read it with comprehension.
Another problem in understanding Islam stems from the many conflicting ideas existing within it. Is it a religion of peace or a religion of warlike jihad? Does jihad mean the individual struggle to submit to God more completely or does it refer to the universal struggle against every non-Muslim society and structure? If Islam teaches so many good things about Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, why do Muslims have so many difficulties with Christian beliefs? 
Link (here) to the full article at Spero News
More about Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S. J. (here) and (here)

Jesuit Historian On French Cardinal

Fr. Jacques Monet, S.J.
Cardinal Ouellet and Pope Benedict have been close friends for years are said to have a deep mutual respect for one another. Jacques Monet, Jesuit priest and Church historian in Toronto, believes Cardinal Ouellet's friendship will help, not hinder, his ability to retain his independence and influence."Pope Benedict wants to have someone whom he knows well and trusts, and because they are good friends there is a mutual respect. Cardinal Ouellet will have influence and he won't just be a 'yes man.' "I think for the internal workings of the Church this is the most important position there is. The recommendations he makes to Pope Benedict could set the tone of the Church for decades to come."
Link (here) to read the full National Post article.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jesuit In Turkey

Panagia Soumela Monastery
The Turkish government's decision to allow the Orthodox patriarch to celebrate a liturgy at the ancient Panagia Soumela Monastery near Trabzon was a sign of hope for all members of Turkey's Christian minority, said a U.S. Jesuit priest. 
"The present government has promised they really will pay attention to the needs of the Christian minority; the Christians have said we want concrete signs, so this is a positive step in the right direction," Jesuit Father Thomas Michel, who lives and works in Ankara, the Turkish capital, told Catholic News Service
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople celebrated the Orthodox liturgy for the feast of the Dormition of Mary Aug. 15 at the Panagia Soumela Monastery, which was founded in 386. The current building, which is maintained by the government as a museum, dates from the 13th century. It was closed in 1923 after most Greeks were forced out of Turkey and most Turks were forced out of Greece under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne. Father Michel, who has ministered in Trabzon, where an Italian priest was murdered in 2006, said the Panagia Soumela Monastery "is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's in a pine forest with waterfalls and the monastery is perched on a cliff."
Link (here) to the full article.

One A Year

Since 1980 alone, 30 Georgetown alumni have entered the Society of Jesus, which represents the largest male religious order in the world. The following profiles tell the story of several alumni in various stages of Jesuit formation.  Link (here) to Georgetown's website

Leprosarium

Jesuit Father Tom Neitzke, recently ordained in June, spent a summer two years ago in China working at a leprosarium. The journey to the remote Chinese village to stay among those suffering with leprosy and to understand their subsequent shunning by their community, Fr. Neitzke understood that there is much to learn from those among us who have the least. His reflections on the experience of being in China are (here) at National Jesuit News

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jesuit Provincial In India Celebrates The Assumption

Our Lady of Vailankani at Stella Maris Parish in Kalmadi
On Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 4 pm, the long standing dream of the parishioners of the Stella Maris Parish, Kalmadi
that of having a separate shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Vailankani was fulfilled with the inauguration and blessing of the aesthetically and beautifully built structure. 
The shrine was inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Francis Serrao S.J., the Jesuit Provincial of the Karnataka Province and was blessed by Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore. 
Link (here) to the extensive article with lots of pictures of the event.

Jesuit To Speak In Ohio

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
EWTN television and radio host Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., will be the featured speaker at the fifth annual Cradling Christianity event in the Diocese of Columbus. The fund-raiser benefits the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land. The FFHL supports marginalized Christians in the Holy Land by providing tuition and scholarships for students, encouraging them to remain as living stones in the land of their and Christ’s birth. This year’s event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 9, and will be held at Columbus St. Charles Preparatory School, 2010 E. Broad St. It will feature a 5:30 p.m. Mass celebrated by Father Peter Vasko, OFM, president of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, followed by a 6:30 p.m. dinner and presentation by Father Pacwa.
Link (here) to the Diocese of Columbus website.

A Secular View At Momentous Jesuit Achievements

San Ignacio Mini - Ruins of church entrance
The Guarani townships overseen by the Jesuit order flourished in the area that now borders Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. In 1732, at the height of the Jesuit’s power in South America, there were 30 settlements with a combined population of more than 141,000. Today, the ruins of San Ignacio seem half-eaten by the jungle, lying in a jumble of fractured walls and stone pillars. I wander through the remains of the red stone church that towers six metres above me and it is easy to imagine the grandeur of this former settlement. There is still evidence of the altar and the intricate stone carvings along the wall. Dobrusin says many of the missions have been plundered. When foreign immigrants arrived in the area they discovered the fallen stones in the jungles and, without knowing their significance, they hauled the blocks away. Many of the original Jesuit stones can still be seen in the buildings and homes of the Paraguayan town of San Cosme. After San Ignacio Mini was abandoned, it was hidden from view until 1903, when wandering Argentinean poet Leopoldo Lugones rediscovered the ruins. 
Link (here) to read the full story at the Toronto Star, a Canadian newspaper.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Every Breath I Breathe

I thank You, Father, for giving me this, another day in which to serve You. Grant that every breath I breathe, every thought I have, every word I utter, every moment I spend on this earth will be for Your honor and glory and for the salvation of souls.
Link (here) to the prayer at blog by Father James Kubicki, S.J. entitled Offer It Up.

Homily By Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J. On Helping Others With Compassion

Link (here) to watch the homily by Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J. at Gloria TV

Friar To Receive The Father Victor Yanitelli, S.J. Award

Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Father Benedict Groeschel will be presented the Father Victor Yanitelli, SJ, Award for his love of God, that is reflected in his giving of himself to those in need. 
Father Groeschel is recognized for a number of accomplishments since becoming a priest in 1959. He was the chaplain of the Children’s Village, a facility for emotionally disturbed children in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. 
He has taught classes at Fordham University, Iona College and Maryknoll Seminary. He founded the St. Francis House in Brooklyn that is a safe haven for young men looking for a new start.
Link (here) to read the full story.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Farm Street Jesuit On The Assumption Of Mary

The definition of the Assumption in 1950 caused some dismay. As I recall, Protestants were angry because it wasn’t in Scripture. The Archbishop of York, standing beneath his cathedral’s 600 year old Assumption roof-boss, deplored it as an innovation. The position of the Orthodox was more nuanced: they believed it, of course, but were furious that the Pope had defined it. Decades later, earnest Catholics were wont to lament it as the regrettable climax of a sad period of outdated and retrograde Mariology (they didn’t know JPII was coming soon). So what do we believe? 
“The Immaculate Mother of God, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” 
Why do we believe it? Briefly, because the Church tells us, and what the Church teaches from revelation. God teaches. (“O my God I believe in you and all your Church teaches, because you have said it and your word is true”.) What the Church teaches, notice; not the best guess of every theologian. 

If you have a New Testament handy, look up Mt 16:17-19 and Mt 28:18-20.
Link (here) to the full article in the Catholic Herald by Fr. John Edwards, S.J.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

US Government Tests Jesuit University

The Chapel of Mary and Joseph at W.J.U.
Wheeling Jesuit University is the only Ohio Valley college that failed the U.S. Department of Education's 2009 financial responsibility test. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a total of 321 colleges failed the test. That number includes both nonprofit and for-profit colleges. More than 97 percent of students at WJU depend on financial aid to afford college, and that money comes from endowment's given to the university from alumni, board members and more. But, the downturn in the economy made it harder for people to donate money to the school. That is why WJU made the cut. "Our endowment is small. If the endowment is large, we take most of the financial aid packaging for students from the interest rate on the endowment. If we don't have a big endowment, then we use some our operating capital to do the same thing," Interim President of WJU Sister Francis Thrailkill said. 
Link (here) to the full article at WTRF

Two Week Shooting Spree

Defendant Eric Benites, who was 15 at the time of his roughly two-week long shooting spree, asked Long Beach Superior Court Judge J.D. Lord to recommend he serve the start of his prison term in the state's juvenile system until he is 25. "All we're asking is to allow him to remain in (the juvenile system) as long as possible," said court-appointed defense attorney Nancy Sperber, who conveyed Benites' request to the judge. "He wants to get a college degree and possibly a law degree." 
Some Jesuit priests who volunteer at the juvenile hall where Benites has been housed came to court as a show of support. One priest addressed the court directly, saying Benites' letter written during liturgy two weeks ago showed he is repentant. 
Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey scoffed at the claims, listing Benites' recent conviction on multiple felony counts as reason enough to commit Benites to adult prison immediately. "I think it's wonderful Mr. Benites has made this conversion," Frey told the court. "But his behavior during the trial, to me, doesn't indicate a change in behavior."
Link (here) to the full article at the Press Telegram

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jesuit Wages Counter Offensive In The War On Christ

Fr. Gerald "Gerry" O'Collins, S.J.
A Jesuit priest and bible scholar has written a fierce response to Philip Pullman's retelling of the life of Jesus, claiming that the author distorted history to reinforce his own unfavourable views about institutional Christianity. Father Gerald O'Collins, S.J. author of over 50 books and professor of theology at the Gregorian University in Rome for over 30 years, will publish a book later this month taking on Pullman's assertion, in his novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, that "this is a story". Pullman's bestselling book, published in March, gives Jesus a manipulative twin brother, Christ, who eventually betrays him. The miracles of the gospels are given plausible explanations, and Jesus eventually condemns the concept of a church, something he believes would make the devil "rub his hands with glee"."Jesus is not in a position to correct misrepresentations, especially serious ones that the public, often pretty gullible in these matters, is inclined to accept at face value," O'Collins told the Guardian. He believes that Pullman's aim in the novel was to cast doubt on "belief in the divine identity of Jesus". In his book, Philip Pullman's Jesus, the priest asks if the author used "or rather misuse[d] the story of Jesus to wage war on Christianity".
Link (here) to The Guardian

Indian Jesuit Radio Waves

Each Sunday, as the world stretches its way to a lazy holiday, Fr Eugene Lobo, S.J. at the Indian section of the English programme at Radio Vaticana puts on the headphones and faces the microphone. For 20 minutes as programme host, he reaches out to millions of listeners in English, with endearing stories about people and humanitarian issues. Something he has been doing since Aug 1, 2007. The transition from college campus to broadcast chamber happened by accident, says this former college principal, who was born in 1949 at Neerude village, near Mangalore. "When I retired from St Aloysius College in Mangalore in 2007, there was a request from the Vatican Radio for a Jesuit from our province, and I was asked to take up the assignment. I had no technical knowledge, nor did I know Italian. I became an eager student and in a couple of months, I could handle it." 
Link (here)  to the Times of India.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nativity Mission Center In The Lower East Side

By the 1960s, the Rev. Walter Janer, a Puerto Rican-born Jesuit, was reaching out to local youngsters, setting up study halls and recreation, and opening a summer camp upstate. But any strides the campers made in self-confidence or academic skills often faded when they returned to New York public schools in September.
“We saw how much they had changed over the summer,” Father Jack Podsiadlo, S.J. said. “The idea was to see how many of our kids we could prepare for admission to Jesuit high schools.” 
The Nativity Mission School opened in 1971 in the Lower East Side with a simple model. Relying on priests, volunteers and young teachers, it welcomed youngsters whose parents could not afford parochial school tuition. Teachers were always present, throughout the school day and during evening study hall. They still are. 
Link (here) to the full N.Y Times article.
Photo of the Lower East Side at Bowery/Delancy

German Jesuit On The Rosary And An Angel

In Rome, Fr. Heinrich Wilhelm Pfeiffer, S.J. learned to know, finally, a couple, and one might think that the Holy Spirit had a fun allowed by this encounter, the man named Joseph was and carpenter, his wife's name was Helga, but with the middle name Maria. The contact to the Munich pair held long, Heinrich Pfeiffer got to know some other form of piety - and appreciate.  
"This woman has managed to sharpen my piety, and to cultivate a very different way. Over coffee she took out her rosary and prayed, her lips were painted bright red. "
Henceforth Pfeiffer also prayed the rosary every day, as an initiation had it been for him. Finally, he saw Michael's Church in Munich's something strange: 
The local sculpture of an angel appeared to him in a different way, like fire. "What happened there is very hard to describe. The fire burns in me now, "says Pfeiffer.  
Pfeiffer finished with two love affairs and his worldly life and was from Jesuit. With 30 years of age. With 31 years Pfeiffer has been a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he still holds seminars.
Link (here) to the original German news piece, this was translated with Google translator.
Picture of the angel is not the one Father mentions in his interview. 

Markers

When I turned 21, I was at a Jesuit seminary in Minnesota. I know I was sober because we seminarians had no access to liquor. Except for the Mass wine in the sacristy, alcohol was kept in a locked cabinet in the priests’ recreation room, and the nearest bar was a two-mile walk down the highway, and none of us had any money even if we went there.
Link (here) to read full post entitled, Markers about the aging process at the blog by Fr. Frank Majka, S.J.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jesuit Looks At The Problems With Yoga

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. takes a look at the other ramifications of the division of the brain. He talks about meditation in the New Age movement. He talks about the way that some New Agers use to meditate like psychotechologies and yoga and what is wrong with yoga. He also takes a look at Christian spirituality and how Christianity is to be lived. He says that we should be defined as a deep relation with God.
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Listen to the full talk at EWTN's audio library by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. (here) entitled, Meditation Control.

A Musical Fundraiser For Jesuit Seminarian In The Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - The Jesuit Communications Foundation, Inc. (JesCom) presents the Philippine Madrigal Singers in “Madz Goes Jesuit: From Traditional to Contemporary Sacred Music,” a fund-raising concert for the benefit of the Jesuit Seminaries, on Aug. 18 and 19, 7:30 p.m. at Teatro Aguinaldo, Camp Aguinaldo, QC. The Madz will trace the development of religious music from the classical era to the post-Vatican II era that gave birth to Filipino liturgical music spearheaded by well-known and beloved Jesuit composers like Fr. Manoling Francisco and Fr. Eddie Hontiveros, among others.
Link (here) to the full article.