Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Former America Magazine Editor Say Bishops Embarrassing To Watch

In November, when the U.S. bishops met for their annual meeting in Baltimore, they did not pick up on the themes that are the signature features of the papacy of Pope Francis: concern for the poor and marginalized, criticism of the capitalism, and the mercy and compassion of God. Rather, they continued to worry about gay marriage and the contraceptive mandate and voted to write a statement on pornography. (Spoiler alert: They are against it.) It was truly embarrassing to watch the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in action in Baltimore, especially for those who remember the glory years when the bishops were prophetic voices with their letters on peace and the economy. It was as if they had missed the Francis memo.
This week, the bishops will have another chance to get on the Francis bandwagon as they meet Wednesday through Friday in New Orleans. Will they miss the bus again?
"Family issues" will again be front and center at the meeting in New Orleans. The bishops will get an update from their Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, chaired by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. This is the committee that fights gay marriage. They will also hear from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who chairs the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, which is leading the fight against the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. 
Link (here) to the Fishwrap to read the full article by Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Jesuit Elephant

It seems that elephants roamed the Philippines not just in prehistoric times but as late as the 17th century, as Jesuit Ignacio Francisco Alcina in his multivolumeHistoria de las islas e indios de Bisayas(1668) as a “torre de carne” (tower of flesh) that some Christian saints referred to as “Goliath” because of the size. (The iconic Japanese monster Godzilla may not look like it, but its name when read in Japanese sounds like “gorilla.”)  Alcina noted that the Visayan word for elephant was “gadya,” and that the ivory (“garing” in Tagalog, hence one of the attributes of the Virgin Mary, “Tower of Ivory,” is “Torre ng Garing”) was used for bracelets, ear pendants, daggers and sword hilts, and even jewelry boxes.
described by the
According to Alcina, elephants were not to be found in the Visayas but in Jolo. These were smaller than elephants from Cambodia and India, and were prized for their: ivory tusks that were made into religious images of the Santo Niño, the Virgin Mary, and other saints; bones, similar to ivory, that were fashioned into jewelry; hide that was made into breastplates, helmets, and armor that protected the wearer from sword and lance but not from an arquebus or musket; and, last but not least, meat that was eaten, too!
Alcina wrote: “The natives of that island (Jolo) eat the flesh. One of our fathers who stayed there told me that he had eaten the meat and that it was tougher than beef and did not taste as good.” Elephants were said to be intelligent, hardworking, and fierce when provoked. They were modest, too. When told that elephants were never seen mating, that they concealed themselves when they mated, Alcina remarked: “A lesson in modesty for men who sometimes and even frequently lack the modesty which these brute animals observe so well.”

What I found fascinating, though, was the fact that Alcina saw elephants in Manila where they were received as gifts from Cambodia and neighboring countries. Alonso Fajardo, governor-general from 1618 to 1624, gave the Jesuits a tamed elephant that served them many years hauling logs, beams and posts during the construction of the Jesuit residence in the city.
Alcina talked fondly about their pet elephant and of its sad end:
“I have heard unusual and very strange stories related about it… I shall tell only one, which seems to have a connection with the friends of Bacchus (Greek god of grape growing and wine) of whom there are many here. It seems that if they were not watchful, he went to the wine cellar or store room, either at the Colegio or that of the Procurator General, sniffed out the casks which contained wine, very easily uncovered them with his trunk and siphoned out one entire cask at one time; thus showing his joy with a thousand gambols. If, perchance, he took in too much he would be intoxicated and cause some violence. However he was able to get out into the countryside until it passed; afterwards he returned to the house very docile.
“When he felt hungry, they say, he used to go among the houses of the natives; they knew what he wanted and gave him either rice or various fruits to eat. In this manner he went to many dwellings, as though asking alms, until he was satisfied. He approached the doors of the houses of those who would not give him anything and struck the posts and tore them off and flattened the houses, thus they were careful to give him something immediately so that he would not harm them. This happened when days passed without his returning to our house where what was needed was given him.
“He lived for years until a Brother of ours, angered by some mischief or other, whether stealing food or drink, who was in a house in the field where the elephant was taken to haul logs, which were newly cut, fastened the beast with strong ropes to a large tree and left him there to die of hunger. Since this animal had cost him little, he was little concerned about it perishing.”
Quite a sad end for the pet elephant in the 17th-century Jesuit house in Manila whose name is lost to history. I hope that inhumane Jesuit brother was castigated in life and in the hereafter for his cruelty.

Link (here) to The Inquirer

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jesuit Abducted By Taliban In Afghanistan

Vatican Radio is reporting that Afghan forces have arrested a man in connection with the abduction of Father Alexis Prem Kumar. It says the kidnapped Indian Jesuit has been located in the Gilan district of Herat, Afghanistan. According to the Hindustan Times, Father Kumar, 47, country head of Jesuit Refugee Services, was kidnapped on Monday by six gunmen from Zenda Jan district in Heart province.
The abduction came nearly 10 days after an attack on the Indian consulate in Herat by four heavily-armed gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. On May 29, the Indian mission in Herat had issued an advisory asking its nationals to exercise extreme caution while venturing out.
"We are deeply shocked by Prem's abduction. We are in contact with all the relevant authorities and doing everything possible to ensure his safe and speedy return. Meanwhile, our prayers are with Prem and his family and friends at this difficult time," said Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, International Director of the NGO working for refugees around the world. JRS said that Father Kumar had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for the returnee refugees in Sohadat township, half an hour from the city of Herat. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat. 
Link (here) to Aleteia

Monday, June 2, 2014

Liberation Theology Is Very Archaic, If Not Already Dead

While in Rome last week, the president of the Latin American Bishops’ Council said at a news conference that the Church in the region has fortunately moved beyond liberation theology. “The relevant figures of liberation theology are all very elderly, and liberation theology as such, as the expression of what it was, is very archaic, if not already dead,” commented Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla May 27 at the offices of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
"There were efforts by some liberation theologians to clarify their theology,” he said. “But that was during the 1970s and 80s, and today, thank God, we have a much wiser theological reflection that does not neglect the necessary, comprehensive, liberation of man.” "Now it is not about class warfare, with the confrontation between rich and poor, because as we know, for the Church this is not the way to social liberation.”
Archbishop Aguiar explained that liberation theology "had been put forth with a sociological foundation that did not square with theological foundations," and that consequently "that is where it fell apart." True liberation, he said, "is showing the merciful face of God the Father, the tenderness of God among us”; this strengthens the human condition, the family as the place where the person matures and is educated, and prepares future generations to be leaders in all areas of society, "whether social, economic, or political." This task, Archbishop Aguiar reflected, “is one that Pope Francis has described in ‘Evangelii Gaudium.’”
Link (here) to CNA 
Tons of stuff on Liberation Theology and Jesuits (here)

Fr. James Martin, S.J. On 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.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Al Qaeda-Linked Militant Is Responsible For The Missing Fr. Dall' Oglio, S.J.

Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, S.J.
Father Paolo Dall'Oglio was abducted by an "Al Qaeda-linked militant" in Syria in July 2013, and was believed to still be alive.
However, according to Mid East Faces, "ISIS defector" Abu Mohammad Assuri indicates Father Paolo was shot 14 times and "killed right after his capture."
Father Paolo's death was first reported "by Tahrir Souri, a Syrian opposition website," and "was immediately confirmed by the Syrian League for Human Rights." The Syrian League for Human Rights named defector Assuri as an eyewitness to killing.  There were "at least 1,213 cases" of Christian persecution reported in Syria alone last year, where "10 percent of [the people] are Christians." Many of these "have become targets for Islamist groups who believe Christians are supporters of President Bashar al-Assad."
Link (here) to Brietbart

Jesuits Gather In Jordon

Jesuits after the Holy Fathers visit to Amman, Jordon (here) and (here)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fr. Charles F. Suver, S.J. "The Jesuit of Iwo Jima"

Fr. Charles F. Suver, S.J. "Mass at Iwo Jima"
Jesuit Father Charles F. Suver, a native of Ellensburg and a 1924 graduate of Seattle College, celebrated Mass prior to the famed flag raising. What’s more, the idea to plant the Stars & Stripes atop the 550-foot volcano was hatched six days earlier in the priest’s shipboard cabin, 
according to the late Jesuit Father Donald Crosby’s 1993 book, “Battlefield Chaplains: Catholic Priests in World War II.” Father Suver, a Navy chaplain, was among 19 Catholic chaplains and 58 chaplains assigned to minister to the three Marine divisions that wrested Iwo Jima from the Japanese in the war’s bloodiest battle in the Pacific, 
Father Crosby said in his book. On the eve of the landing assault, the then 38-year-old chaplain gathered with friends in his cabin after supper to chat.  “One young officer in the group said that if he could take an American flag from the landing craft, perhaps someone could hoist it on top of the volcano…,” Father Crosby wrote.  “Challenged a young lieutenant, ‘Okay, you get it and I’ll get it up there.’ Not to be outdone, Suver added, ‘You get it up there and I’ll say Mass under it.’ “Six days later he would keep his promise.” But it would be a long six days. Father Crosby, who researched Marine records and contacted several hundred former chaplains in writing his book, chronicled how Father Suver and a fellow Jesuit chaplain narrowly escaped death on several occasions during the battle for Iwo Jima.
Afterwards, “both remain haunted by their memories of the struggle,” the author said. “Most important, both found that the Iwo Jima experience gave them a deepened appreciation of their vocation as Roman Catholic priests, just as it did for their non-Jesuit and non-Catholic colleagues.” 
Father Suver’s landing craft had been among the ninth wave of landing crafts to reach the shores of Iwo Jima the morning of Feb. 19. They hit the beach at 9:40 a.m., which Father Suver thought was “far too early for a priest,” Father Crosby wrote. The chaplain soon discovered his heavy Mass kit would be of no use amid the hazardous surroundings, so he planned to bury it and return for it later. His assistant, however, convinced him to leave the kit out in the open, correctly surmising that another Marine would come along and spot the priest’s name on the kit and bring it to him. The flag raising took place on Feb. 23. 
Father Crosby’s book chronicles how Father Suver celebrated Mass atop Suribachi afterwards on an altar consisting of a board laid across two empty gas drums. 
But Jesuit Father Jerry Chapdelaine, a friend of Father Suver’s, said last week from his residence at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma that the reverse was true. Father Suver “told me the Mass was said before the raising of the flag – not after,” Father Chapdelaine said. “A lot of people got the deal wrong about the saying of the Mass…Father Suver told me (that he said to his men), ‘I’ll say Mass to you guys and then you raise that flag.’” Father Crosby’s book describes how Father Suver could hear Japanese soldiers chattering in caves nearby as he celebrated the Mass. The capture of Suribachi was a prelude to 29 more days of fierce fighting, in which the Marines suffered most of their casualties, Father Crosby wrote.  
“So many of the men (Father Suver) had seen on top of Suribachi were to ‘remain behind on Iwo.’ One of the severely injured was the brash young lieutenant who had boasted that he would put the flag on top. Tragically, he had been shot in the back before the flag raising and remained paralyzed for the rest of his life. Another Marine had carried the flag to the top.” 
After the war, Father Suver spent more than a dozen years ministering with the Jesuit Oregon Province’s Mission Band, conducting week-long spiritual renewals and other activities. He was pastor of St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane from 1958-66, and later did marriage counseling and retreat work in Seattle, then was chaplain at the Park Rose Care Center in Tacoma, residing with the Jesuit Community at Bellarmine Prep. “I remember him when I was a kid; he was on the Mission Band,” said Father Chapdelaine, who became good friends with the wartime chaplain when they resided at Jesuit residences in Portland and Tacoma. “He was one tough guy…physically strong, and he had lots of courage. But he was a very gentle man, too. “He talked about his fears (on Iwo Jima), but he (said he) didn’t think about that stuff much. He was pretty focused on what was going on. He was sensitive to the guys. 
“And he loved being a military chaplain. He told me they (the military) weren’t going to take him, that he was too old when he applied.” Father Suver died of cancer in 1993 at age 86, 
at the Bessie Burton Sullivan Skilled Nursing Residence at Seattle University. It was Easter Sunday. “He wanted to die on Good Friday – that’s what he told me,” said Father Chapdelaine, who celebrated his funeral Mass at St. Joseph Church in Seattle. “I don’t know if it was connected (to Iwo Jima) or not.”
Link (here) to

Fr. William Doyle, S.J. Chaplain Of The Battle of Ypres "They Speak His Name With Tears"

[The following letter, written by Father William Doyle a few days before he was killed during the advance of Irish troops north-east of Ypres on August 17th, 1917, is a chapter of autobiography needing the fewest possible notes in its elucidation. This Jesuit Chaplain of the Irish Province was the son of Mr. Hugh Doyle of Dalkey, co. Dublin, for many years Registrar of the Dublin Bankruptcy Court; he was forty-four years of age when he wrote this to his father, aged eighty-six.* Educated at Radcliffe by the Rosminians, William Doyle nevertheless became a Jesuit. He studied in Belgium, was ordained at Milltown Park in 1907, was Professor at Clongowes (where he founded and edited The Clongovmian) and subsequently laboured in Limerick and in Dublin. In November, 1915, the call to more strenuous service came to him, and three months later he went to the Front with the 16th Irish Division. For his bravery at Ginchy he was awarded the Military Cross, and he was afterwards commended by his Commanding Officer for the V.C., which, however, he was not to receive. As a preamble to his own letter may be quoted a line from that of a brother-chaplain, written about Father Doyle before his death : "He is a marvel. They may talk of heroes and saints—they are hardly in it!" That exclamation neither the saints nor heroes aforesaid, nor yet the eighth Urban of the scrupulous Decree, will in anywise take amiss.]

July 30th, 1917.—For the past week we have been moving steadily up to the Front. It was half-past one a.m. when our first halting-place was reached, and we marched again at three. It was the morning of July 31st,. the Feast of St. Ignatius, a day dear to every Jesuit, but doubly so to the soldier sons of the soldier Saint. Was it to be Mass or sleep ? Nature said " sleep," but grace won the day; and while the weary soldiers slumbered the Adorable Sacrifice was offered for them. As we fall into the line once more the dark clouds are lit up with red and golden flashes of light, the earth quivers with the simultaneous crash of thousands of guns—the Fourth Battle of Ypres has begun. . . . The road was a sight never to be forgotten. On one side marched our columns in close formation. On the other galloped by an endless line of ammunition waggons, extra guns hurrying up to the Front, and motor-lorries packed with stores of all kinds ; while between the two flowed back the stream of empties and ambulance after ambulance filled with wounded and dying. We marched on through the City of the Dead—Ypres, out again by the opposite gate. A welcome halt at last, with perhaps an hour or more of delay. At that moment the place for sleep did not matter two straws—a thorn-bush, the bed of a stream, anywhere would do to satisfy the longing for even a few moments of slumber after nearly two days and nights of marching without sleep. I picked out a soft spot on the ruins of a home, laid me down with a sigh of relief.
August 1st.—Morning brought a leaden sky, more rain, and no breakfast. Our cook, with the rations, had got lost during the night, so there was nothing for it but to tighten one's belt.
Sunday, August 12th —We have just got back to camp,, after (for me at least) six days and seven continuous nights on the battle-field. I shall give you the principal events of these exciting days, as I jotted them down in my notebook. (August $th.) All day I have been busy hearing the men's confessions, and giving batch after batch Holy Communion. My poor, brave boys—they are lying on the battle-field, some in a little grave dug and blessed by their chaplain, who loves them all as if they were his own children. Do you wonder that, in spite of the joy that fills my heart, many a time tears gather in my eyes as I think of those who are gone ? As the men stand lined up on parade I go from Company to Company giving a General Absolution, which I know is a big comfort to them. Then I shoulder my pack and make for the train which, this time, is to carry us part of our journey. "Top-end for Blighty, boys; bottom-end for Berlin !" I tell them as they clamber in, for they like a cheery word. "If you're in Jerryland, Father, we're with you too," shouted one big giant, and is greeted with a roar of approval.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reknowned Jesuit Fr. Edmund Walsh On Defense Of Christian Civilization

Fr. Edmund A Walsh, S.J. and Gen Douglas MacArthur
Fr. Edmund Walsh, S.J. was an enthusiastic supporter of Cold War militarism, praising in particular the building of the US navy's first nuclear powered submarines and giant aircraft carrier. As the strongest citadel of Christian civilization, America needed to be vigilant and well armed. Addressing graduates of the FBI academy in 1947 he declared that never before was there
"greater need for clear heads, steady hands and great hearts at the controls of human destiny, for men who walk humbly in the sight of God but keep their powder dry"
Walsh's most stridently militarist position was his justification of a peremptory nuclear first strike by the United States against the Soviet Union. Writing immediately after the outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula which he interpreted as the "final confrontation" between "two great centers of world power whose basic and irreconcilable character" was known to Soviets decades ago, Walsh argued that all states were obligated to protect their populations from attack. Preemptive attacks were morally just. The United States, for example, would have been justified in intercepting and destroying the Japanese aircraft attacking Pearl Harbor. With a "Soviet feint in some remote area of Asia or the Middle East," the U.S. defense system had better keep its eyes fixed on the Northwest and Arctic sector for a sneak surprise attack. 
If the U.S. government had "sound reason to believe (that is, had moral certitude)" that a surprise attack was being planned then President Truman was justified in "taking measures proportionate to the danger" including use of atomic bombs. 
While the results would be tragic and horrific, there was no immorality in the United States government choosing the lesser of two evils. Walsh justified military force in the abstract by pointing out that "even Christ himself did not disdain to seize the lash and drive the hypocrites out of the Temple". Writing on this same issue of the atom bomb and the Christian conscience in Total Empire he ends the book with the rather ominous sentence: "The debate is not whether we can afford to do the necessary things for the defense of Christian civilization -- but can we afford not to do them?"
Link (here) to read the full paper with citations.

The Eight Jesuits Say "We Believe That We Survived Because We Were Living The Message Of Fatima. We Lived And Prayed The Rosary Daily In That Home."

Father Hubert Shiffer was one of these eight Jesuit survivors. He was 30 when the atomic bomb exploded at Hiroshima and lived another 33 years in good health. He recounted his experiences at Hiroshima during the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia (USA) in 1976. At that time, all eight members of the Jesuit community were still alive. Fr. Shiffer, on the morning of August 6, 1945, he had just finished Mass, went into the rectory and sat down at the breakfast table, and had just sliced a grapefruit, and had just put his spoon into the grapefruit when there was a bright flash of light. His first thought was that it was an explosion in the harbor (this was a major port where the Japanese refueled their submarines.) 
Then, in the words of Fr. Schiffer: "Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me 'round and round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind." 
The next thing he remembered, he opened his eyes and he was laying on the ground. He looked around and there was NOTHING in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were leveled to the ground. The only physical harm to himself was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. As far as he could tell, there was nothing else physically wrong with himself. After the conquest of the Americans, their army doctors and scientists explained to him that his body
would begin to deteriorate because of the radiation. To the doctors amazement, Fr. Schiffer's body contained no radiation or ill-effects from the bomb. Conclusion: There are no physical laws to explain why the Jesuits were untouched in the Hiroshima airblast. There is no other actual or test data where a structure such as this was not totally destroyed at this standoff distance by an atomic weapon. All who were at this range from the epicenter should have received enough radiation to be dead within at most a matter of minutes if nothing else happened to them. There is no known way to design a uranium-235 atomic bomb, which could leave such a large discrete area intact while destroying everything around it immediately outside the fireball (by shaping the
plasma). Not only did they all survive with (at most) relatively minor injuries, but they all lived well past that awful day with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible long term defects or maladies. Naturally, they were interviewed numerous times (Fr. Schiffer said over 200 times) by scientists and health care people about their remarkable experience. 
The eight Jesuits say "we believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home." Fr. Shiffer feels that he received a protective shield from the Blessed Mother which protected him from all radiation and ill-effects. Fr. Schiffer attributes this to devotion to the Blessed Mother, and his daily Fatima Rosary; "in that house the Holy Rosary was recited together every day." 
Of course the secular scientists are speechless and incredulous at this explanation - and they are sure there is some "real" explanation - but at the same time over 50 years later the scientists are still absolutely bamboozled when it comes to finding a plausible scenario to explain the missionary's unique escape from the hellish power of that bomb. From a scientific viewpoint, what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima still defies all human logic from the laws of physics as understood today (or at any time in the future). It must be concluded that some other (external) force was present whose power and/or capability to transform energy and matter as it relates to humans is beyond current comprehension; a plausibility argument for the existence of a Creator who left his "calling card" at Hiroshima. 
Link (here)

Our Hearts Were In Our Mouths

As we know, the Soviet system was not kind to religious people despite it’s founding laws. There were various periods in Soviet history when religion was actively suppressed and then loosened. As can be seen from a more detailed view from the Library of Congress here and from an interesting anti-religious point of view that defends Marxism here.  As you can see, what a constitution says and what a state does can be dramatically different. Father Ciszek, an American Jesuit, had always wanted to serve as a priest in Russia. He was ordained in 1937 and in 1938  managed to be sent to Poland. During Hitler’s aggressive World War II years the Russians and Nazis carved up Poland. Father Ciszek had reached his goal, but unfortunately the Soviets sentenced to 15 years in prison for being a “Vatican Spy.” After years in the famed Lubianka prison in Moscow, he was sent to Norilsk in Siberia where he spent his remaining prison time in various Gulags. There were several Gulag uprisings that took place in 1953. He describes a final assault at his prison by solders:

Troops mounted on trucks roared through the gate, firing as they came…..Our hearts were in our mouths….We watched some prisoners, as they were herded into groups, kill themselves by ripping their bodies open with knives.
He was released in 1953 a free man, but not free enough to chose even where he was to live. He was not allowed to leave the country, and lived for years as a Soviet citizen with limited rights. He managed to administer to Russian citizens in various cities of Siberia after his release, Norilsk being the first. Wherever he was told to live, he began his priestly duties however he could; a friendly family giving their home and risking social devaluation. He took over for another priest in a temporary hovel. He was always being watched by the MVD (Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del) the Interior Ministry, and regularly ordered to report for interrogations.
Link (here) to The Catholic Stand

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In 1986, I Was Baptized At The Easter Vigil By The Jesuit Joseph Nguyen

Fr. Joseph Nguyen Cong Doan, S.J.
Persecuted by the communist regime, he used the chains that robbed him of freedom to pray the rosary. Nguyen Huu Cau converted to Christ in prison. A few days ago he was released after more than 37 years in prison and a prison camp. "In 1986, I was baptized at the Easter Vigil by the Jesuit Joseph Nguyen". Cau described in an interview with Catholic News the hard fate of Vietnamese Catholics. The Jesuit priest was the one who told him about Christ in custody and taught him the catechism. 
Since then, "I have prayed the Rosary every day seven times and Stations of the Cross five times," said Nguyen Huu Cau. After futile attempts reeducation, Cau was released last 22 March. 32 years spent as the "enemy of the people" in prison and more than five years in a concentration camp. 
After his release, he said: "I thank God that He has forgiven my jailers." Due to severe torture during his detention, Nguyen Huu Cau-is now deaf and almost blind. "In prison, I've gotten to know Christ and found to faith."
Link (here) to Tancred's, The Eponymous Flower

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here Comes General Congregation 36

Madonna Della Strada
Communication of General Congregation 36

Dear Brothers,

P .C. [Pax Christi]

Several years have passed since my election as Superior General of the Society and I have recently reached the age of 78. Reflecting on the coming years, I have reached the personal conviction that I should take the needed steps towards submitting my resignation to a General Congregation. After obtaining the initial approval of the Assistants ad providentiam and having informed his Holiness Pope Francis, I formally consulted the Assistants ad providentiam and the Provincials, as our law requires (NC 362). The result of the consultation is favorable towards the convening of a General Congregation.

After having discussed the matter with my Council, through this letter I wish to inform the whole Society that, towards the end of this year, I will convoke the 36th General Congregation, to be held during the final months of the year 2016.

Therefore, the meeting of Provincials originally scheduled for January 2015 in Yogyakarta and convoked on 12 March of this year (Circular Letter 2014/03) is canceled.

Let us ask Our Lady of the Way to place the Society with Her Son on this journey of discernment that we now begin.

Fraternally yours in the Lord,

Adolfo Nicolás, S.I.
Superior General
 Link (here)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fr. Michael Amaladoss, S.J. Was A Student Of Fr. Jacques Dupuis, S.J.

Fr. Jacques Dupuis, S.J.
Francis knows Amaladoss because of his long and distinguished career as a Jesuit, both as a theologian and author of hundreds of books and articles, and also as a longtime assistant at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome. Amaladoss is traveling abroad, Mudavassery said, and the theologian did not respond to emails sent to him at the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religion that he heads in Chennai.
Mudavassery said he did not know of any restrictions placed on Amaladoss. But Amaladoss has pulled all speaking and writing commitments as he tries to address the Vatican’s concerns. Jesuit sources said Amaladoss told his U.S. publisher, Orbis Books, to halt work on a planned collection of his writings; Orbis officials declined to comment on the status of any project with Amaladoss.
The priest also canceled a lecture at Union Theological Seminary in New York, scheduled for April 8, titled “Is Theology in India Really Different Than Theology in the West?” A note on the seminary’s website reads: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Vatican has forbidden Dr. Amaladoss from speaking and publishing until a process of examining his thought has been successfully completed.” “Amaladoss has asked us not to comment on the specific reasons for this cancellation, and we respect his wishes,” added Union spokesman Jeff Bridges. Investigations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are conducted in secret, and targeted theologians often don’t know that they are under scrutiny until the investigation is well underway. They also typically do not know who lodges complaints or who in the CDF is conducting the investigation. Theologians have long complained that such secrecy and the limited opportunities they have to answer charges in person have led to a coercive system that reflects poorly on the Catholic hierarchy.
During the quarter century that Ratzinger ran the office under Pope John Paul II, Jesuits were often the targets of CDF probes, in part because Jesuits have a missionary focus and seek to translate traditional beliefs for modern believers and to other religious cultures.
The process of engaging cultures is especially advanced in Asia, where Christianity is a minority and where Jesuits have established a beachhead for Catholicism. But that also means that theologians working there often use nontraditional formulations to try to communicate the faith to Hindu or Buddhist audiences who have little understanding of Western views of God and Jesus. Amaladoss’ own teacher, the Belgian Jesuit Jacques Dupuis, faced a long and grueling investigation by the CDF over his views on religious pluralism. The stress of the probe, led by Ratzinger, is said by colleagues to have contributed to Dupuis’ death in 2004.
Link (here) to RNS

Friday, May 16, 2014

Obama Administration Appoints Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. To A U.S. Commission

The White House announced yesterday the appointment of Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The position is a non-paid, volunteer appointment. Reese will continue as a senior analyst and columnist for National Catholic Reporter. The commission “is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress,” according to the commission website. [1] The commission has nine voting members. Commissioners are appointed by the president and Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
Link (here) to the stinky Fishwrap

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Thing Is For Certain: Administrators At Georgetown Are Unrepentant

precisely what Archbishop Zani has in mind when he states that CCE is “taking the issue seriously” and is “cooperating with the Society of Jesus [SJ] in this regard” is impossible to know from those phrases. Is CCE sufficiently serious enough in this issue to bring pressure upon SJ leadership in Rome to introduce the kind of changes at Georgetown that Blatty seeks? Or, lacking “hierarchic recourse,” is CCE going to communicate with SJ leadership in Rome (perhaps over a very nice lunch and glass of wine) and then place Blatty’s canonical petition in the circular file, Archbishop Zani having done what said he would do?  One thing is for certain: Administrators at Georgetown are unrepentant. According to Inside Higher Ed, a Georgetown spokeswoman, Rachel Pugh, wrote in an email that the University has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican regarding the petition, and that Georgetown’s Catholic identity “has never been stronger.”  Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.
Link (here) to The American Catholic
precisely what Archbishop Zani has in mind when he states that CCE is “taking the issue seriously” and is “cooperating with the Society of Jesus [SJ] in this regard” is impossible to know from those phrases. Is CCE sufficiently serious enough in this issue to bring pressure upon SJ leadership in Rome to introduce the kind of changes at Georgetown that Blatty seeks? Or, lacking “hierarchic recourse,” is CCE going to communicate with SJ leadership in Rome (perhaps over a very nice lunch and glass of wine) and then place Blatty’s canonical petition in the circular file, Archbishop Zani having done what said he would do?
One thing is for certain: Administrators at Georgetown are unrepentant. According to Inside Higher Ed, a Georgetown spokeswoman, Rachel Pugh, wrote in an email that the University has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican regarding the petition, and that Georgetown’s Catholic identity “has never been stronger.”
Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.
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Barbara Marx Hubbard Inspired By The Jesuit de Chardin And Grateful To Cardinal Gerhard Müller

Laura Fox and Barbara Marx Hubbard
I Barbara Marx Hubbard am grateful to Cardinal Gerhard Müller for raising concerns about conscious evolution and its relationship to Catholic teaching. I hope his focus on this issue will stimulate many, both within the Catholic church and outside it, to deepen human understanding of conscious evolution and how we might advance our own evolutionary action for the good of the whole of Earth life. 
I am not a Catholic nor a theologian, yet I have been deeply inspired to help develop the meaning of conscious evolution through my studies of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. Ilia Delio, John Haught, Beatrice Bruteau, Fr. Thomas Berry, David Richo, Diarmuid O’Murchu, and others. And of course, from the New Testament itself.
Now, meeting with so many women religious through LCWR, I see conscious evolution in action. They have been evolving the church and the world for hundreds of years through deep gospel living, a mystical presencing, faithfulness in serving unmet needs, solidarity with Earth, building community as “whole-makers,” risk-taking for the sake of the mission, genius for cooperative self-governance and decision making, and above all bringing love and hope for the future into the lives of millions. 
Link (here) to Fr. Z

The Success Of William Peter Blatty

Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani
Last September, William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist and an alumnus of Georgetown University, sent a canonical petition to the Vatican, requesting that the Church “require that Georgetown implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a papal constitution governing Catholic colleges.” If that effort proved fruitless, his petition called for “the removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit in any of its representations.” Many months later, Blatty and the 2,000 other men and women who signed his petition have received a response from the Congregation for Catholic Education, sparking cautious hope that the Holy See will press the Society of Jesus to address festering problems on the Washington campus.
In an April 4 letter, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, stated that technical impediments prevented the department from granting the petitioners’ request for “hierarchic recourse.” But Archbishop Zani offered hope that the Vatican would pursue the matter further.
“Your communications to this dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University … constitute a well-founded complaint,” wrote Archbishop Zani. “Our congregation is taking the issue seriously and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.” Archbishop Zani’s response fell short of Blatty’s request for a formal assessment of Georgetown’s adherence to Ex Corde Ecclesiae (Catholic Universities), St. John Paul II’s apostolic constitution that directs Catholic universities to adhere to Catholic teaching and advance the mission of the Church in their institutional culture, faculty hiring and retention, curricula and student affairs. However, Blatty remains optimistic that his ultimate goal — the revival and strengthening of Georgetown’s Catholic identity — will gain traction as the Holy See’s talks with the Society of Jesus move forward. "I am deeply gratified that the prayers of my 2,000 fellow petitioners have been answered,” Blatty told the Register.
Link (here) to the National Catholic Register

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fr. Michael Amaladoss, S.J. Under Scrutiny Of Pope Francis' CDF

Fr. Michael Amaladoss, S.J.
The Vatican is investigating a Jesuit theologian from India for allegedly espousing unorthodox beliefs, raising new questions about whether Pope Francis — the first Jesuit pope — is in fact moving the Catholic Church in a new direction.
News of the threatened censure of the Rev. Michael Amaladoss, whose best-known book is “The Asian Jesus,” follows on the heels of a blunt warning on orthodoxy and obedience that the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, delivered to a group of nuns who represent most American sisters.
Mueller’s April 30 speech to sisters from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was seen as an unexpected setback in negotiations over a Vatican investigation of the nuns that began a year before Francis was elected. Mueller’s hard line also seemed out of step with the new style of openness and flexibility that has marked Francis’ young papacy. Church sources say that Amaladoss, a highly regarded expert on interreligious dialogue and Christology, first came under scrutiny by Mueller’s office a year ago. They said Amaladoss believed that his initial responses to questions about his views on the uniqueness of Jesus and the Catholic Church had answered Vatican objections. But in January, Mueller’s office returned with a demand that Amaladoss write an article publicly endorsing the Vatican’s views or face silencing. For decades, that level of severe sanction was a hallmark of the hard-line treatment of theologians under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI.
In early April, Amaladoss met with Mueller and other officials from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he “agreed to rework … those issues in the light of the dialogue,” the Rev. Edward Mudavassery, who oversees the Jesuits in India, wrote in an email.
“I understand it was an open and honest meeting trying to clarify objectionable issues,” Mudavassery said. “We all know that Pope Francis is a man for dialogue. It seems to me that the CDF, too, may follow this path to sort out differences because these men under the scanner are genuine and loyal to the Church and to the teachings of Jesus.” Francis reportedly knows about the investigation but does not seem overly concerned that it will end in punishing Amaladoss, according to Jesuits familiar with the case.
Francis knows Amaladoss because of his long and distinguished career as a Jesuit, both as a theologian and author of hundreds of books and articles, and also as a longtime assistant at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.
Link (here)

The Pope Francis Clampdown On LCWR

The clampdown on the nuns began in 2012, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its original doctrinal assessment after investigating the organization. Then it chastised the sisters for staying silent on some of the church’s signature issues, including birth control, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the ordination of women. Instead, in their work in schools, hospitals, and centers for the poor, they were just doing what they could to help the population, rather than acting as missionaries for the church. Their silence on the issues was interpreted as an endorsement, which was particularly annoying to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which felt the sisters were undermining the status quo.
According to the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR, the sisters were “moving beyond the Church” and as such, creating “a serious source of scandal” that is incompatible with religious life. 
The nuns’ next trial of faith will be their August assembly, which will be seen as a litmus test for just how seriously they are taking the Vatican’s criticism. Their options will be to get in line with with the bishops and cardinals or break away and form their own group outside the Holy See’s jurisdiction. Francis, for his part, does not appear flexible on the topic. In several interviews, including one last September with the Jesuit magazine America, he dismissed the idea of women as equals. “I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo,’ because a woman has a different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of machismo,” he said then. Now it is up to the nuns to flex their muscles or succumb.
Link (here)

So I tweeted “Catholic sisters teach me what it means to persevere without the benefit of institutional power.” And I added #WhatSistersMeantoMe. Framing things in that way, I thought, meant that people could show their gratitude for sisters, and read other messages of support, without being in any way negative. No need to be anti-Vatican or anti-bishop or anti-anything. Just pro-sister.
A few people commented that the Vatican’s assessment of the LCWR wasn’t intended as a critique of all U.S. sisters. Which is true. The LCWR is a kind of professional organization that often issues statements on behalf of the religious orders it represents. But that observation misses the point that the LCWR assessment came on the heels of a lengthy Vatican investigation of all women’s religious orders in this country-an “Apostolic Visitation,” to use the official term, investigating the sisters’ “quality of life.” 
In other words, it wasn’t surprising that many sisters felt beleaguered and demoralized.

The Dark Angel Worship Cancelled At Harvard

UPDATED: May 12, 2014, at 8:15 p.m.
The Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club has dropped its sponsorship of a re-enactment of a Satanic “black mass” ritual, which was scheduled to occur Monday evening at Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub. A spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, which was facilitating the black mass, said that the organization no longer plans to hold a black mass this evening.
The Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club originally said that it planned to relocate its reenactment of a Satanic black mass ritual, scheduled for Monday night, to an off-campus site, citing in an email that “misinterpretations about the nature of the event were harming perceptions about Harvard and adversely impacting the student community.”
The club wrote in its email around 5 p.m. that they planned for the event to be held at The Middle East nightclub in Central Square at 9 p.m. But Clay S. Fernald, the general manager of The Middle East, said Monday evening that the nightclub will not host the event, and that negotiations with the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club had fallen through.
Link (here) to The Crimson 
St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Discernment of Spirits (here)

A Jesuit Professor At Harvard On The Black Mass At Harvard

Fr. Francis Xavier Clooney, S.J.
I am the Parkman Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, and a Roman Catholic priest. On all three counts, I am concerned about the plan for a black mass hosted by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club on Monday, May 12. The club explains: “Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices. This performance is part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture.”
If only the organizers had said more on which “religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture” are highlighted in the performance of a black mass. This is, after all, a practice that, as far as its murky history reveals, seems often to have included the inversion and blaspheming of Catholic sacramental practice, as well as actual worship of Satan. 
Will these dimensions be present in Monday’s enactment? And what’s next? The endeavor “to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices” might in another year lead to historical reenactments of anti-Semitic or racist ceremonies familiar from Western history or parodies that trivialize Native American heritage or other revivals of cultural and religious insult. Such events would surely raise legitimate concerns among all of us at Harvard; no one should be surprised if Catholics are concerned right now.
Link (here) to the full article Fr. Francis Xavier Clooney, S.J.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Regis University On List

Regis University
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released today a list of the higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. In the past, Department officials confirmed individual Title IX investigations at institutions, but today's list is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review by OCR for possible violations of the law's requirements around sexual violence.
"We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights," Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said. "We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university's appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law."

Regis University is the lone Jesuit university on the Ob@ma Administration list
See the list (here)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jesuit High School Student Collapses During Basketball Game Later Dies

Jermaine Cullum
Despite the heroic efforts of two prep basketball spectators, doctors could not save the life of a Chicago teen who collapsed during a game at Riverside (Ill.) Brookfield High this past weekend. In a tragic roller coaster of emotions, 
Christ the King Jesuit College Prep sophomore Jermaine Cullum fell to the floor after converting a layup during Saturday's tournament at the suburban school, according to the Chicago Tribune. A registered nurse in the stands immediately responded to an apparent seizure, a doctor working the concession stand followed suit, and the two helped restore Cullum's pulse using CPR.
The doctor, Maurice Binns, orchestrated the efforts of paramedics in an ambulance as they rushed Cullum to Loyola University Medical Center, where he reportedly remained in critical condition the following day. However, the boy died on Monday as the result of a still unknown heart condition
Link (here) to Yahoo Sports