Wed

26

Apr

2017

Christianity Finds Home in Israel

by Albert Barkan

 

The demographics of the Middle East over the last century show a drastic trend in the religious composition of the region. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Christians comprised 14% of the population of the Middle East; now, according to a 2015 article in the New York Times, that number is down to somewhere between 3-4%. On a national level, the statistics are similarly alarming. In one century, Lebanon’s Christian community has gone from being a majority to just a bit over a third of the nation’s population. In Iraq, only a third of the nation’s Christian population exists at its 2003-level, and in Syria a third of the nation’s community has fled the country since the start of the bloody Civil War in 2011. The numbers speak for themselves. There is a cleansing of Christianity occurring in the region.

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Wed

26

Apr

2017

ISIS Bombs Egyptian Coptic Christian Churches

by Peter Klapes

 

On Palm Sunday, Egyptian Coptic Christians were the victims of violent ISIS attacks just weeks before the pope’s visit to the country.

 

The first explosion occurred on Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis church in the city of Tanta, claiming 29 lives and injuring 71. Just before 10 a.m. on Sunday April 9, a bomb planted under one of the pews turned the church into a chaotic uproar. On-scene interviews with the churchgoers indicate that a negligent police force may also bear some responsibility. “The police didn’t protect the church on an important day like today,” claimed a local taxi driver.  Images and videos from the attack circulated on social media showed blood-stained palm crosses and overturned pews and lecterns.

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Wed

26

Apr

2017

Arkansas Executes Two Death Row Inmates

by Dante Keeler

 

Arkansas executed two convicted murderers, Jack H. Jones and Marcel Williams, on Monday, the first time a state has executed two inmates on the same day since 2000. Ledell Lee, executed last Thursday, was the first inmate Arkansas executed since 2005. Kenneth Williams, convicted murderer of three, is also scheduled for execution on Thursday.

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Wed

26

Apr

2017

Santa Clara County Opens Sanctuary Churches

by Sofia Infante

 

In the midst of increasing tension over Trump’s immigration directives, cities such as New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco are protecting their status as sanctuary cities. Now, Catholic churches in different states have followed suit by declaring themselves sanctuary churches, or safe havens where immigrants in fear of being deported can seek shelter. Although there is no strict definition of a sanctuary city, these cities usually have a set of laws curbing federal requests for the sanctuary city to enforce the federal government’s immigration laws.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Chicago Archbishop Holds Good Friday March for Peace

by Mary Kate Cahill

 

On Good Friday the Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cardinal Cupich, held a march for peace in Chicago’s Southside and called for “all people of good will” to join him. More than 1,500 people attended the march, which started at St. Benedict the African Parish and followed a four-mile route through the neighborhood.

 

 

The diverse crowd included residents of the neighborhood as well as people from all over the city and surrounding area. A large number of Chicago priests joined their cardinal on the march, and religious leaders from other Christian churches walked alongside their congregations. Residents waved from apartment windows and front porches as the crowd marched down their streets.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Learning to Love

 

 

by Libbie Steiner

 

One night a few weeks ago, I sat on my bed, talking to my roommate until too late. We have this ritual where we turn off all of our lights but one when we are about to go to sleep, so the room is bathed in a pink glow from the lamp’s pink shade. We sat opposite each other on our beds, talking about everything and nothing, giggling uncontrollably at times. I had a sudden nostalgic thought that times like these were quickly coming to an end. Soon, we would be living in different rooms in different states. I thought about how much I loved her, and how much I loved so many people who came into my life over the past four years.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Theology of “Babette’s Feast”

 

by Laura McLaughlin

 

I recently watched the Danish film “Babette’s Feast,” which tells the story of a French maid living in a small, isolated, religious community in Jutland with two aging sisters. The beginning of the film explains this curious phenomenon, starting with the story of the sisters, Philippa and Martina, who gave up the chance at a career as an opera singer and a loving marriage with a young lieutenant, respectively, to help their father run his religious community. Their father, a charismatic Lutheran pastor, “[thinks] little of marriage and family” and so leaves behind two unmarried daughters and an aging community behind when he dies. Babette comes to Philippa and Martina from a politically unstable Paris, where her husband and son were murdered in the Communard uprising of 1871, and begs the sisters to take her in. Unbeknownst to them, she is the foremost chef in Paris.

 

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

On Weed, Dryer Sheets, and "Eerie Chants"

 

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

In the early hours of April 16, Mr. Jeff Maples visited St. Nektarios Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina for what he would later call a “Holy Saturday service.” Around the same time, I was attending the same service at my own parish, but our observations could not have been more different. In his post about it, Mr. Maples takes issue with any and everything about the Paschal Vigil he attended, starting with the length of the service. He complains that despite having started at 11:30 p.m., there was no sign of slowing down at 2 a.m. In addition, Mr. Maples complains that the smell of incense brought him back to his college dorm days filled with (him or others) "smoking weed and blowing the smoke through toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer sheets." Neither was the music up to his taste, as he observes that almost everything consisted of "eerie Byzantine chant."

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

On the Challenge to Love our Enemies

 

by Annalise Deal

 

I have long suspected that most Christians who say they want to love their enemies really only want to love some of their enemies. For most Christians, I think, there is a line where loving your enemy stops feeling like a command worth listening to. For students at BC, I think that line is at loving Donald Trump, or loving members of ISIS. I understand that those are two extremely different examples that don’t belong in the same group, but just for the sake of relating to a broader political, spectrum I will talk about both.

 

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

The Power of Gratitude

 

by Andrew Craig

 

“I’m done. I don’t want to deal with this anymore. I want to just walk away from this work, stress, person, class, situation…” It goes on and on. There seem to be so many things that everyone I know, including myself, want to walk away from. There are countless stresses and anxieties that, after years of being in school, we do not want to put up with any more. It seems to be a cyclical rut that, when we realize all of the stressors, we become even more stressed and feel paralyzed. “What should I do about this paper, exam, friend, etc? What can I do? Why is this all so terrible?” These are just a few of the questions that run through our minds. When I saw a poster for a lecture on “Resiliency and Relaxation: Managing Stress as Students,” I pounced at the opportunity to discuss such issues.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Becoming More Human

 

 

by Eileen Corkery

 

May 1st: Decision Day. Around the country this week, thousands of high school seniors will commit to colleges to attend this coming fall. Each anxiously weighs his or her college decision. Financial aid spreadsheets, glossy tour book brochures, and course catalogues litter dining room tables across America. Each student asks, “Finances aside, why should I choose ‘X’ school over the others? Why is it the best choice for me?”

 

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Advice from Jerry York

by Laura McLaughlin

 

On Wednesday April 19, coach Jerry York spoke to a room of BC students about the role of Jesuit education in his life. York is college hockey’s winningest coach, with over 1,000 wins over the course of his career. He is a triple Eagle, having graduated from Boston College High School in 1963, from Boston College in 1967, and from Boston College’s masters program in counseling psychology a few years later. He has won the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey title five times in his career, four as a coach at BC.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Rev. Marcel Uwineza Preaches Forgiveness in the Face of Evil at Agape Latte

by Luke Heineman

 

We learn from the Gospel of John that harnessing hatred towards others is harmful to ourselves: “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11). Perhaps no one was challenged to let go of hatred more than Reverend Marcel Uwineza, who told his story at this month’s Agape Latte.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Dorothy Day’s Granddaughter Speaks on Catholic Worker Legacy

by Katie Daniels

 

On Wednesday April 19 Kate Hennessy, a writer and the youngest of Dorothy Day’s nine grandchildren, spoke about her recent biography of her grandmother, Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty. Subtitled “An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother”, the biography draws on newly discovered letters and diaries, as well as a decades-long series of conversations with Hennessy’s mother Tamar, to portray the complex relationship between Day and her only daughter.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Veritas Forum Discusses the Seeming Contradiction of God and Science

by Quentin Bet

 

On April 20, students sat in Merkert 127 for the Veritas Forum, a seminar that challenges students and faculty to contemplate religious and intellectual matters. MIT professors Ian Hutchinson and Alex Byrne spoke at the discussion entitled “Does Science Point to Atheism?” Professor Byrne spoke in favor of the claim, saying that scientific evidence disproves the existence of God. Professor Hutchinson took the opposite stance, claiming that faith and science are perfectly compatible. The professors presented their arguments in a discussion moderated by Micah Lott, a philosophy professor at BC. As Professor Lott made clear, the forum was not meant to be a debate, but as a discussion to foster intellectual curiosity.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

The Promise: Movie Review

by Armen Grigorian

 

The Promise, a film directed by Terry George and starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale, is a love story set during the onset of the Armenian Genocide. Michael Begosian (Oscar Isaac), is an Armenian medical student in Istanbul who falls in love with Ana Khesarian, (Charlotte Le Bon). Khesarian, however, is already in a relationship with Christopher Meyers (Christian Bale), a renowned American journalist. Much of the movie’s plot is driven by this love triangle, but the film also does not shy away from addressing the Armenian Genocide.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

The Theology of Chance the Rapper

by Annalise Deal

 

Like many of my fellow millennials, in the last several months I’ve become obsessed with Chance the Rappers newest album, Coloring Book. I’m not typically much of a rap person, but I am a Theology major, so a friend of mine recommended the album because he thought I would be interested in the lyrical themes of the album. He was absolutely right. I have been fascinated by the way that Chance combines more typical rap themes (“Drinking All Night”) with his deep Christian faith. Chance has discussed his faith extensively in interviews, and was very public about it at the 2017 Grammys as well, where performed segments of “How Great” and “All We Got” complete with a gospel choir, and began his acceptance speech for Best New Artist with this simple invocation “Glory be to God.”

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Call Me Francis

by Eileen Corkery

 

This past month, Netflix released a four-part biographical miniseries chronicling the life Pope Francis. Produced by filmmaker Pietro Valsecchi, Call Me Francis was adapted from the critically acclaimed 2015 Italian film Chiamatemi Francesco. Grossing nearly € 3.5 million, the film ranked second in the Italian box office its opening weekend. In 2016, Netflix bought the rights to the film and reworked it into four 50-minute episodes.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Expectations vs. Reality: Divine Mercy Sunday

by Adriana Watkins

 

The Catholic Church is good at celebrating. After the seemingly-endless forty days of Lent, there comes a parade of feasts; we pack more holidays into twenty-four hours than greeting-card companies can invent arbitrarily. There’s a lot going on this time of year. Here’s an example: all at once, it can be the Friday of the Octave of Easter and St. Anselm’s feast day and the eighth day of the Divine Mercy novena…take a breath when you can!

 

But it’s that last event I’d like to focus on—the Divine Mercy novena. Sunday, April 23, marks the conclusion of this annual prayer. Beginning on Easter, participants recite a Divine Mercy chaplet once a day, offering each devotion to a different group of people. The first day, for example, is dedicated “to all mankind,” while subsequent days are focused on more specific groups like priests, unbelievers, and the souls in Purgatory. These devotions (along with the chaplet prayer itself) were given by Christ to St. Faustina Kowalska in a series of visions. You can read about them in her personal diaries.

 

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Praying Through the Paschal Triduum

by Jeffrey Lindholm

 

What exactly is the tradition we Catholics call the Easter Triduum? The Paschal Triduum is at the core of Christianity, as we celebrate the Paschal Mystery: the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Triduum allows the faithful to enter deep within the traditions and mysteries of the Church.

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

Euthanasia Debate - Rebuttals

This Catholicism 101 special feature is part two of a debate between the editorial staff of The Torch.

To view the first part of this debate, please click here.

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

Jewish Graveyards Vandalized

by Quentin Bet

 

Over 100 tombstones were defaced, damaged, or toppled at the Mount Carmel Cemetery of Philadelphia in late February. Unidentified perpetrators vandalized this Jewish burial ground, and though their motivations are unknown, authorities suspect anti-Semitism as the driving force.

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Undergoes Confirmation Hearings

by Sofia Infante

 

Beginning on March 20, the Senate Judiciary started confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal who President Donald Trump nominated to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. During the Senate hearings, Gorsuch portrayed himself as a judge who favored the law over political parties. “I’ve ruled for disabled students, for prisoners, for the accused, for workers alleging civil rights violations and for undocumented immigrants,” Gorsuch said during the hearings. “Sometimes, too, I’ve ruled against such persons.”

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

AHCA Pulled from Voting in House of Representatives

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

Following campaign promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Donald Trump—in conjunction with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan—introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or Trumpcare on March 6. The bill was originally announced as the first of three pieces of legislation which would complete the transition from the ACA and effectively repeal it.

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

Four Years of Francis

 

 

by Katie Daniels

 

“Thinking of the next pope,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio wrote before the last papal conclave, “he must be a man who from the contemplation and adoration of Jesus Christ helps the church to come out to the existential peripheries.”

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