Wed

31

Jan

2018

Fringe Sect Proselytizes on Campus

by Ethan Starr

 

In the past few days, Boston College students have been approached by college-aged individuals asking if they would be willing to take part in a Bible study with them, with some students agreeing to do so. Those who accepted were introduced to the core beliefs of the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG).

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Pope Apologizes to Sex Abuse Victims; Defends Accused Bishop

by Tess Daniels

 

Aboard the papal flight to Lima, Peru, Pope Francis apologized for comments made in Iquique, Chile concerning victims of clergy sex abuse. He says that he now realizes that he unknowingly wounded the victims.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Boston College Students Participate in 45th Annual March for Life

by David O'Neill

 

On January 19, fourteen students from the Boston College Students for Life Club joined hundreds of thousands of other pro-life activists from across the country for the 45th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of thousands of participants joined to protest the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states. In recent years, the pro-life movement has expanded to include advocacy against euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, and the death penalty. However, with an estimated 60 million children’s lives lost through abortion since the 1973 decision, legal protection of the unborn remains the most pressing pro-life issue.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Vatican Asks Underground Chinese Bishops to Resign

 

by Alex Wasilkoff

 

 

The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, has asked Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou, China, to retire in order to allow a government-approved bishop to take his place. Bishop Zhuang has refused the request.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

“No Exit” is No Laughing Matter

by Adriana Watkins

 

As the January cold settled in, and students enclosed themselves in their dorm rooms, the Boston College Theatre Department debuted No Exit. The play ran from January 26-28 in the Bonn Studio—a space that became, for the weekend, a glimpse into Hell.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

In Mass Confusion, Mass Confession

by Jack Long

 

Few can honestly answer the question, “What would you do if you and everyone you knew had fifteen minutes to live?” Thanks to a false missile alert, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu now knows that his final fifteen minutes, should he be aware of what they are, would not be spent clinging to something for protection, saying goodbye to his family and friends, or even making his peace with God. Instead, Bishop Silva spent what he thought was his final moments bringing others to peace with God by leading a church of soon-to-be-dead faithful though a ritual known as general absolution.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Discernment of Spirits

by Jeffrey Lindholm

 

“Oh, you’re discerning? So, you want to be a priest?” This tends to be the response when the term “discernment” is used. “I’m discerning” is equated with thinking about the priesthood. Actually, discernment applies to every one of us. Every person is called to discern the will of God for himself or herself. A useful method for us to contemplate, seek, and ultimately do the will of God is called the Discernment of Spirits, developed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Saint of the Issue: St. Francis de Sales

by Amanda Judah

 

While there are many notable saints to celebrate in the month of January, it is especially fitting for The Torch to honor St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalism, as well as of the deaf. His feast day is celebrated on January 24, with prayers such as “Be at Peace,” which highlights the saint’s attitude toward trusting in God’s providence. In keeping with his patronage, the pope often releases his annual message for World Communications Day on this date.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Thomas Asks: Christ’s Personhood

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

In the third part of the Summa Theologiae, commonly referred to in Latin as the tertia pars, Thomas Aquinas turns his attention to the topic of Jesus Christ. After discussing the fittingness of the Incarnation (q. 1), Aquinas then turns to considering the mode of the union of the Word. This, in other words, examines the way in which the Son was united to a human nature and, as such, became incarnate. One easy-sounding question in this topic is whether Christ is a Divine Person with a human nature, or a human person with a Divine Nature.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Whence Comes Modern Pessimism?

 

 

by Marcus Otte

 

What is the greatest good for a human being? Or, to put it differently, what is happiness? When pre-modern philosophers reflected on morality, these were the most fundamental questions they raised. Every other question was answered in their light. The meanings and requirements of such virtues as courage, generosity, justice, and prudence, were each understood in a manner that supported the greatest good for a human being.

 

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

For the Gift of Rain Drops

 

by Jamie Myrose

 

In a fashion typical of Boston, another rain storm gripped the city, resulting in a 36º day. While I love watching thunderstorms from inside my dorm room, I dread the idea of walking around with soaking wet shoes the rest of the day. Suddenly, I remembered—I had gotten rain boots for Christmas! For the first time in four years I could walk across the Boston College’s campus knowing I would stay dry. This realization arose in me immense gratitude for my parents, and I could feel a sense of joy welling up inside me. I could not keep a smile off my face as I stepped through puddles. I took a moment to look at the beauty of these humble rain drops returning to the Earth to bring life. I thought to myself, “What have I missed? Where else have I failed to see God?”

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Reunion: Within Our Lifetimes?

 

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

I am firmly of the opinion that Christian reunification must remain a steadfast commitment for every serious and informed Christian. In a time when the Faith is being attacked on so many sides, it is necessary that the people of God join together to provide a unified response, or suffer the disadvantage of dealing with quarrels both between Christians themselves and those who would like to see Christianity be a footnote in history. Most near and dear to my heart is the reunion of East and West, not only because it is the oldest wound in the Church, but also because the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches have—despite their near one-thousand-year divide—remained the closest doctrinally. It is also dear to me because I come from two generations of intermarried Catholics and Orthodox. Though it was fascinating and enriching for my spiritual formation that every Sunday when I was a child we’d have to trek from the Orthodox Church to the Catholic Church so that everyone could attend the Divine Liturgy and Mass, respectively, it was rather irregular.

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Connecting to the Communion of Saints through Spiritual Benefactors

 

by Annalise Deal

 

While the Episcopal church, where I was raised, technically recognizes the communion of saints and the spiritual practice of venerating saints, I never felt like I had a special connection to any saint growing up. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything by not having a personal understanding of saints until last year, when God put it on my heart to seriously explore the richness of the communion of saints. In studying the theologian Elizabeth Johnson, I was pointed to the Book of Wisdom for a portrayal of the communion of saints. Wisdom 7:27 says, “[Sophia] renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets.” Through this verse, I came to understand that these friends of God and prophets are not just those deceased and distant saints we read about, but also people whose holiness has had a profound impact on our own personal lives. However, figuring out how to relate to individuals in the communion of saints, or find meaning in the “great cloud of witnesses,” proved a more difficult task.

 

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

The Call to Childlike Wonder in Advent

by Annalise Deal

 

I recently saw a photo on social media of my high school youth pastor holding his 1-year-old daughter, whose face was lit up with the colorful glow of Christmas lights, captioned “Wonder at the parade of lights.” Aside from how adorable the photo was, it also made me recall the importance of wonder, especially during the season of Advent. Advent offers us time not only to sit in delighted wonder at Christmas lights, trees, and decorations, but also time to sit in wonder as we anticipate the mystery of the Incarnation.

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

Pope Francis Visits Myanmar and Bangladesh

by Tess Daniels

 

In early December, Pope Francis concluded a diplomatically-tricky visit to Asia, where he visited the countries of Myanmar and Bangladesh. Many people apprehensively watched the trip to see whether he would speak out about the controversial term “Rohingya.” The Rohingya, who are described as “the world’s most persecuted minority,” are a Muslim ethnic group who have lived for centuries in the majority-Buddhist Myanmar. Nearly all of the Rohingya in Myanmar live in the extremely poor state of Rakhine and are not allowed to leave without government permission. Several governments, including the United Sates, have declared the recent violence against the Rohingya to be an act of ethnic cleansing, an accusation which the military has denied. Due to their ongoing persecution, over 600,000 Rohingya have been  forced to flee the Rakhine State towards neighboring Bangladesh, where they are denied refugee status.

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

Joy to the World: The Geography of Christmas

by Adriana Watkins

 

It’s early December. You’re in the car. The radio DJ announces that “Silent Night” is playing next, with a verse in the original German. “German?” you think to yourself. You often forget this classic carol wasn’t written in English—and perhaps you feel a sense of discontent. Do you even know what Christmas looks like in Germany? Or in Kenya? Or in the Philippines? Your own traditions and memories of the holiday bring you plenty of joy—but what does this joy look like for others?

 

Here are a few ways other nations commemorate the birth of our Lord:

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

Christological Themes in Frosty the Snowman

by Ethan Starr

 

Most of us cannot help but enter into a festive spirit when we hear Christmas music over the radio and see weekly rounds of Christmas specials on television. Christians in modern America may often, and justifiably, decry the secularization of the Christmas season, as St. Nicholas gives way to the red-clad, sleigh-riding Santa of popular culture, and biblical Christmas stories are supplanted by stories of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. Remembrance of the true spirit of Christmas should remain an important objective in our modern observation of the Christmas holiday, but there are some questions we should consider: Is the celebration of our secular holiday, characterized by Rudolph and Frosty, mutually incompatible with recognition of the birth of Jesus? Or, perhaps, do the Christmas specials actually reflect and educate children on the Christological meaning of Christmas? What could we possibly learn about Jesus from Frosty the Snowman?

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

The Art of Celebration

by Hadley Hustead

 

Growing up I always knew there was something different about my family. My parents were perplexingly unconventional. They were so chill that I often found myself confused why they didn’t take my life more seriously. The other moms and dads I knew were running circles around their children, tending to every anticipated beck and call. I was fleetingly jealous, but it never got under my skin. Things in my home ran a bit differently than most. We had rules, chores, and bed-time, but structure was certainly not our holy grail. As a child, I was too naive to put my finger on what made us different. However, I have a developing theory that the spirit of my family is rooted in my mom and dad’s mastery of recreation.

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

Christmas at the McMullen Museum

by David O'Neill

 

 

The 6.1 inches of snow that Boston received two weekends ago made the perfect setting for a Christmas celebration. Amidst the snowy fields of Brighton Campus, the McMullen Museum hosted their annual holiday celebration on Saturday, December 9. Members of the BC community—students, professors, alumni, and children of all ages— came for the free event, which provided a great study break for BC students. It was also an opportunity for visitors to view fall semester’s three beautiful exhibitions, which closed to the public the next day, December 10.

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

Christmas Spirit Inspires Charity at BC

by Amanda Judah

 

Christmas is often called the “season of giving.” Charitable organizations use this time to launch campaigns, encouraging the public to think of resources they can share. Recently, this goodwill has extended as early in the year as “Giving Tuesday,” a social media phenomenon that occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Salvation Army bell-ringers are a ubiquitous sight outside of grocery stores and malls, and there are seemingly infinite opportunities to volunteer or donate to charity. Boston College is no exception to this philanthropic trend, encouraging students to participate in several ways that contribute to the overall community:

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Sun

17

Dec

2017

O Wisdom: Advent Antiphons

by Natasha Zinos

 

 

Among the Church’s lesser known Advent traditions are the O Antiphons. Prayed during evening prayer from December 17th to the 23rd, these antiphons highlight Old Testament hopes for the Messiah. Accompanying the Magnificat which is prayed on these same evenings, the O Antiphons bear a strong resemblance to the Virgin Mary’s praise of God for sending his Messiah into the world through her.

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Wed

29

Nov

2017

Panelists Discuss the Crisis in Venezuela

by Susanna Mykoniatis

 

What began as a recession in Venezuela has resulted in the worst economic crisis in the country’s history —a crisis that is also political, social, and even humanitarian. But what are the effects of this crisis, and what does the future of the country look like?

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Wed

29

Nov

2017

Vatican Holds Conference focused on Grassroots Change with Human Trafficking

by David O'Neill

 

Though it is impossible to procure exact numbers (most estimates range between 25 and 46 million), it is understood that the amount of people in slavery is likely at an all-time high. Not only that, but it is a growing industry. According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking is a $150 billion-a-year industry. Recognizing this crisis as an attack on human dignity and a grave moral crime, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences hosted a workshop with the Global Alliance for Legal Aid. The workshop brought together human trafficking survivors, clergy, religious, and international lawyers all focused on one common goal: the eradication of human trafficking. The goal of the workshop was to formulate a “Victims Charter”, a document that would clearly lay out the rights that victims have and give a framework for reintegration into society. The founder of the Global Alliance for Legal aid, a US based association of lawyers that provides legal help to third world countries, talked about the need to focus on helping victims after they are liberated as well as before. She was quoted in an article by Catholic News Agency as asking, “How is this person going to restart their life?”, noting that victims are often left with a “slew of problems” such as mental trauma, physical impairments, poor education and lack of employable skills.

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Wed

29

Nov

2017

Pope Francis Issues Clarifying Letter

by Alex Wasilkoff

 

Pope Francis issued a letter to Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, on October 15 correcting and clarifying a commentary falsely attributed to the Cardinal.

 

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Wed

29

Nov

2017

Acts of Violence Prompt Concerted Response from Church Leaders

by Lourdes Macaspac

 

On October 31, a 29-year-old Uzbeki man, Sayfullo Saipov, attacked civilians with a rental truck, killing at least eight people and injuring a dozen more. According to eyewitnesses, “he allegedly drove about a mile along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center at about 3 p.m. Eastern time before he slammed into a school bus”.

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