Category Archives: Faith & Reason

La Civiltà Cattolica has new leadership with Antonio Spadaro

Antonio Spadaro.jpgLa Civiltà Cattolica, THE prestigious journal of opinion in Italy, and perhaps in very many ecclesial circles, has new leadership in Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro. La Civiltà Cattolica has been at the service of the Church 162 years.

Father Antonio, 45, takes the helm from Father GianPaolo Salvini, 75, who’s been the head of La Civiltà Cattolica since 1985, an apostolate of the Italian Jesuits in Rome.
While not an official organ of communication of the Holy See, La Civiltà Cattolica is reviewed by a ranking –though competent– official of the Secretariat of State. It is said that the Papal Palace, that is, the Pope himself, reviewed the pre-publicaiton draft of the journal; Pope Paul VI changed the process.

 La Civiltà Cattolica cover.jpg

The new director, Father Antonio, also the superior of the House of Writers (near to the Porta Pinciana) is trained in literary criticism and has been at the journal for a time since 1994. He’s from Messina and was ordained in 1996. All of his training was in Italy but he completed his Jesuit formation, tertianship, in Ohio. He earned a doctorate from the Gregorian University under the direction of the Australian Jesuit Gerald O’Collins. The new director has published some 15 books and he’s interested in the new social communications.
Don Antonio hosts two blogs: “Antonio Spadaro” and “Cyberteologia.”
He got a difficult road ahead of him: bringing La Civiltà Cattolica further into the new millennium with the use of English, social media and greater visibility. The voice of  La Civiltà Cattolica needs to be heard. A new broom sweeps clean.
May God grant Father Antonio many and rich blessings as he begins his new ministry.

Lorenzo Albacete on 9/11

Albacete.jpgMonsignor Lorenzo Albacete was interviewed by PBS’s Frontline on the 9/11 tragedy.

That phrase: “I saw death” is a startling thought. What does one really see? The interview is interesting as it tries to deal with facing good and evil, not only in the ad extra but also ad intra, and the worship of the true God.
Monsignor Albacete’s interview is part of the larger project called Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero.

Artistic expression is part of that “way of beauty” that leads to God

Pope Benedict gave the following teaching on beauty –a subject near to his heart– on August 31. Some of the paragraphs are here (the entire address is here). Isn’t what the Pope says true???? The beautiful expressed in food, music, art, architecture, the human body, the poerty and friendship is the extroversion of the Holy Spirit.

 

Today, I would like to consider briefly one of these channels that can lead us to God and also be helpful in our encounter with Him: It is the way of artistic expression, part of that “via pulchritudinis” — “way of beauty” — which I have spoken about on many occasions, and which modern man should recover in its most profound meaning. 

 

Perhaps it has happened to you at one time or another — before a sculpture, a painting, a few verses of poetry or a piece of music — to have experienced deep emotion, a sense of joy, to have perceived clearly, that is, that before you there stood not only matter — a piece of marble or bronze, a painted canvas, an ensemble of letters or a combination of sounds — but something far greater, something that “speaks,” something capable of touching the heart, of communicating a message, of elevating the soul

 

Wells cathedral.jpgA work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human person who stands in wonder before the visible reality, who seeks to discover the depths of its meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colors and sounds. Art is capable of expressing, and of making visible, man’s need to go beyond what he sees; it reveals his thirst and his search for the infinite. Indeed, it is like a door opened to the infinite, [opened] to a beauty and a truth beyond the every day. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, urging us upward.

 

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Why Bill Keller misses the mark with Catholicism

In the NY Times yesterday the editors published a few paragraphs on Bill Keller and his coverage of Catholicism for the 8 last years. It was really a screed on being the priests of truth. However, the article indicates that he has gratitude for his Catholic education, noting his the fervent faith of his parents, especially his mother. But the rub for me is that now Keller identifies himself as a “collapsed Catholic” meaning “beyond lapsed.” Of course, he doesn’t explain how or what concrete events led him to arrive at being a collapsed Catholic.

Essentially Bill Keller’s understanding of Catholic faith is reduced to a set of rigid moralisms that have no vitality, no freedom, no desire. I can only surmise that Keller’s skeptical attitude toward the beauty of Catholic faith rests in his inability to see Jesus Christ as the answer to his human need now due to an absence of wonder, gratitude and true charity. I think he blames his skepticism on the “institution” of the Church on incidental things versus on things of depth. On one level who could disagree with Keller and those like him who walk away from the Church when the desire of the heart is played down.
I’d like to know what Bill Keller’s experience of Jesus is, and what his experience of receiving the sacraments is. Perhaps his problem of a lack of satisfaction in the Faith is a true lack of gratitude for what is given by the newness of the Risen Lord and that Christ is not a thing but a person.
But is there really such a thing as a collapsed Catholic? Or, a Catholic who needs a reawakening by meeting Christ personally?

Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture: a deeper dialogue between science and faith

The Pontifical Council for Culture has been doing some good work in promoting serious dialogue among those who work in science, the humanities and theology. You may be familiar with the Council’s “Science, Theology and the Ontological  Quest” (STOQ Project). The most recent collaboration has been with NeoStem in organizing a forthcoming conference dealing with the theme of “Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture.” Regenerative medicine is now on the front burner for dialogue and research among scientists, theologians and pastors. This field of study has wide applications for work in culture, law, theology, pastoral practice, scientific research and practical application for all peoples on the planet.

The Council for Culture is working also with the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers to give a united front and clear witness to the importance of this topic to all interested parties.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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