Tag Archives: La Civiltà Cattolica

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.

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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.

Who is St George?

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How can anyone not like Saint George’s story? Whatever happened to the real cult of Saint George? Does the saint have contemporary relevance for us today? What witness does he offer the “post-modern” people we purport to be? Do we still struggle against Satan, the evil one, the great tempter? How do deal with the noontime devil that seeks to divide us from a filial relationship with God? Jesuit Father George Nedungatt, professor emeritus of the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome) wrote an essay “Saint George without the Dragon” explaining contemporary –at least since Vatican II– Church’s remembrance of and prayerful reliance on, the Lord’s dragon slayer. As the summary of the article says, “The post-conciliar reform has entered the liturgical celebration of St. George [on April 23] amidst the facultative memoirs, attributing the historical date of his martyrdom in Lydda circa 303. It follows the protest, both by those who have chosen St. George as patron and, and for opposing reasons, by those who deny the killing of the dragon by the saint. To shed light on the issue, the article distinguishes between the current liturgical (the cult certificated since ancient time on the saint’s tomb), and the literary tendency, (legends based on his figure as a symbol of the struggle against the forces of evil).” You can read about Saint George in La Civiltà Cattolica (3859, 2011, II, pp. 20-29).

Where Shahbaz Bhatti leading us now?

A few times in the last month I’ve mentioned the the tragic death of a brother in the Lord, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic in Pakistan, a voice against oppression. His death should signal for us that religious freedom is not operative around the world as well as out-and-out persecution of Christians is a too frequent occurrence. Just read the end of the year stats on the deaths of people just because they are Christian published by the Vatican office of Evangelization of Peoples. We can’t under-estimate the our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world face just because they utter Jesus’ name as Lord and Savior: they face death and oppression daily.

In a recently published essay, “The Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Jesuit Father Luciano Larivera, explores the details of a  Christian’s murder by Islamic extremists. He writes in his summary, “On March 2, a commando of an Islamic terrorist group assassinated Shahbaz Bhatti, 42, the minister of Religious Minorities in Pakistan. He was a Catholic, and is already considered a martyr for the faith and interreligious dialogue. Let us quote the spiritual testament. As with the governor of the province of the Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, who was killed Jan. 4, Bhatti had fought for the abolition, or at least for the reform, of the law against blasphemy and the liberation of Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to be hung for insulting Muhammad. Pakistan is torn apart by numerous tensions and an internal power struggle. Religious violence and intimidation have weakened the Government’s action. The country needs the restoration of an effective criminal justice system, which also prevents and sanctions crimes against religious minorities. La Civiltà Cattolica (3859, 2011, II, pp. 81-90) carries the essay.

The UK’s Guardian carried this obit for Shahbaz Bhatti.


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Cybertheology is not one of the sub-sections of systematic theology. At least not yet. But it is a promising idea that will likely have a positive influence in the lives of those who surf the web religiously and for those searching for God and who are not ready (willing?) to be personally involved in the Sunday celebration of the Mass or any other organized religious program that requires one to be physically present.
The originator of the Cybertheology project, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, one of the editors at La Civiltà Cattolica, started a blog to investigate the new, dynamic and complex influence of the Net and the challenages it poses to our relationships with others, language, thinking and the Divinity. I take Father Spadaro’s interest and work in this subject on the impact of the digital world to be wholly consistent with what Pope Benedict talked about in his January 2011 letter on social communications where he said “new technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual  and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.” And, “This dynamic [the digital world] has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and creation of positive relations.”

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Towards a ‘Cybertheology’ — Antonio Spadaro asks the right question

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the literature editor
the Italian bi-weekly journal
La Civiltà Cattolica published an article
“Towards a ‘Cybertheology’?” which will appear in the January 1st issue.
Father Spadaro’s summary: 

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The intelligence of faith in the era of the Net – The
Internet has become part of everyday life for many people, and for this reason
it increasingly contributes to the construction of a religious identity of the
people of our time, affecting their ability to understand reality, and
therefore also to understand faith and their way of living it. The Net and the
culture of cyberspace pose new challenges to our ability to formulate and
listen to a symbolic language that speaks of possibility and of signs of
transcendence in our lives.  Perhaps the time has arrived to consider the
possibility of a cybertheology also understood as the intelligence of faith in
the era of the Net. It would be the fruit of faith that releases from itself a
cognitive boost at a time in which the logic of the Net influences the way we
think, learn, communicate and live.

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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