Tue

22

Oct

2013

Letter to a Non-believer

 

by Chris Canniff

 

This letter was originally written as a final paper in the course TH290: The Problem of Belief in Modernity (fall 2012) taught by Fr. Michael Himes, professor of theology.  The assignment was to write a letter, as if to a friend, responding to the many claims made by the various atheist authors whose works were read throughout the course.

 

 

Dear friend,

 

You raise such interesting and varied points in your articulation of the problem you have with believing in God. I think a broad and encompassing answer can be found which will cause you to rethink each of your objections. You shall come to see that what I have to say speaks in some way to each point, and what you will certainly realize is this common thread running throughout all of my responses – love.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Triple Eagle Honored for Life of Catholic Statesmanship

by Chris Canniff

 

Joseph R. Nolan, who passed away in April of this year at the age of 87, was recently honored by the Archdiocese of Boston at their annual Red Mass for the Catholic Lawyer’s Guild of Boston, a group which Nolan himself helped revive several years ago and of which he served as president for 25 years.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Conversion: Beginning the Journey

by Ashley Brown

 

Religion. Faith. God. These three words, formerly unfamiliar and distant, have begun to be infused for me, with meaning and significance. This progression, in my understanding of these words, in addition to a myriad of other associated words, symbolizes my developing relationship with religion. My initially detached view of religion has opened into a journey toward becoming a member of the Catholic Church.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Pope Meets with Advisory Body to Reform Curia

by Ethan Mack

 

Ever since the conclave, the pope’s top priority has been the reform of the Roman Curia, the bureaucratic body that helps the pope, which has been plagued with corruption and inefficiency for some time. Pope Francis has decided to form a formal body of eight cardinals to advise him on curial reform.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Catholicism 101: First Communion

by Natalie Yuhas

 

Spring is full of new life as everything blooms and the weather warms up. It is also a time of new life in the Church as many children receive the blessed sacrament of First Holy Communion and thereby enter more fully into the Church community. My family sits in the same seats in the exact same row every weekend at Mass, and the angle we are at gives us a perfect view of the kids’ faces as they receive the Eucharist for the very first time. I love seeing how excited they get as they finally walk up and hold out their hands, just as they have seen their parents and everyone else in the community do for so long. The genuine smile and joy that radiates from their faces after they receive the Eucharist is unparalleled. Every time spring rolls around and I get to watch the new wave of children receive their First Communion, I am reminded of how beautiful the Eucharist really is.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Journey to the Top

by Natalie Yuhas

 

Over Columbus Day weekend, I had the opportunity to go to New Hampshire with Boston College’s Outdoor Club. We drove to White Mountain National Park and spent the day hiking up Mount Osceola. Before this point, I had considered myself a fairly outdoorsy person; I live next door to the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation and spend many summer days hiking, biking, and river-walking around there. As we pulled into the park, however, I came to the crippling realization that the land in Ohio is incredibly flat and hiking in New Hampshire may have been a bit of an ambitious endeavor.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

The Superior General of the Jesuits Visits the US

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

Very Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, concluded a two-week visit to the US on October 12. He had a packed schedule as he moved through Boston, New York, St. Lewis, and Chicago where he engaged in many activities, including attending a meeting with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

 

Fr. Nicolás’ visit began in Boston, where he met with faculty members of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He told students and seminarians that the Church needs Jesuits who are men of great intellectual depth. He also reminded them that, when being called to the Society of Jesus, they are being called to join a universal vocation. “To be available in a universal way,” he said, “calls for us to be creative, and to be creative we need to be men of prayer.” While in Boston, Fr. Nicolás met with 55 Jesuit scholastics from 20 different countries.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Jesuit Diaconate Ordination

Photo Credit: Richard Curran
Photo Credit: Richard Curran

by Margo Borders

 

On Saturday, October 12, eight members of the Society of Jesus and one member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer were ordained by His Eminence Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston, to the transitional diaconate at St. Ignatius Church.

 

The newly ordained deacons are Christopher P. Johnson, S.J.; Robert E. Murphy, S.J.; Mario M. Powell, S.J.; Michael D. Rozier, S.J.; Samuel J. Sawyer, S.J.; Paul J. Shelton, S.J.; Thomas M. Simisky, S.J.; David K. Verghese, C.Ss.R.; and Nathan C Wendt, S.J.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Faith in Action: Padre Melo

by Molly Holden

 

On October 9, Rev. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J., popularly known as “Padre Melo,” spoke to a group of BC students and faculty on the violence and ongoing human rights violations in Honduras, currently the “Murder Capital of the World.” His presentation, The Price of Truth: Human Rights in Honduras Since the Coup, addressed the struggles and success of building a fair and inclusive society. Drawing on his own experience as a human rights activist in Honduras and elsewhere, Padre Melo’s discussion offered an in-depth analysis of the systemic reasons for the continued violence and widespread impunity in Honduras. Even amidst death threats, Padre Melo continues to advocate for human rights and freedom of expression in Honduras. Padre Melo is the director of Radio Progresso, a Christian based radio station that is a leader in investigative reporting and advocacy. In addition to his work with Radio Progresso, Padre Melo is the director of the Center for Reflection, Research and Communication, a think tank that studies societal trends and public opinion in Honduras.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

UGBC Launches Spirit in Speech Series

by Alessandra Luedeking

 

On October 14 in Fulton 511, UGBC hosted its first event in the “Spirit in Speech Series” featuring Fr. Michael Denk and Suzanne Carter. They presented their spiritual journeys as faithful Catholics to a widely receptive audience of undergraduate students. The focus of their presentation was to prompt the audience to “tap” into their own lives and discern where they stood in relation to God and faith through the relation of their own spiritual lives. The talk was organized into three parts: vocation, spiritual friendships, and prayer.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Pope Francis and the Unification of the Church

 

by Ethan Mack

 

I absolutely love Pope Francis. I know that is a popular sentiment to express right now, but I nonetheless truly mean it. Reflecting back on his first six months, I honestly don't think there could be a better man to lead the Church at this point in time. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan put it recently, “This man is batting a thousand!” I have been blessed enough to see him several times in Rome, and each time I am struck by the utter joy that radiates from the man.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Protestant Perspective: When the Reformation Started (Sort of…)

by Mark Hertenstein

 

With the feast of the Reformation quickly approaching for those like me, I think it would be good to revisit what exactly happened on October 31, 1517, in a small city in Saxony with regards to a monk who was a little known professor at a new, obscure university.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Viaggio a Roma: Embracing Life with Franciscan Hearts

by Katie Rich

 

When Thursday night comes to John Cabot University in Rome each week, it brings with it an excitement similar to one which children experience just before Christmas. Students bustle through the darkening streets of Trastevere, running into friends with arms full of duffel bags and train tickets, shouting a hasty exchange of weekend destinations. Everyone is going somewhere, and even those who stay in Rome are still in Rome. The city is caked in so many layers of history that students studying abroad can only hope to have tackled part of it by the time they are forced to leave at the end of the semester.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Guidepost: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

by Nikki Elliott

 

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

- Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Diocese of Hiroshima Celebrates its 90th Anniversary

by Jay Chin

 

The Apostolic Vicariate of Hiroshima was founded on May 4, 1923. Bishop Heinrich Döring, S.J. presided over fewer than 5,000 laypeople and 2 diocesan priests. A few years before the atomic bombing of World War II, the vicariate was shut down following the resignation of Bishop Johannes Ross, S.J. in 1940. Almost 20 years later in 1959, the vicariate, having been reinstated, was elevated to a diocese, this time with a Japanese bishop, Dominic Yoshimatsu Noguchi. Today, the diocese has 47 parishes, 73 priests, and 21,500 laypeople.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Holocaust Survivor Thanks Pope for Church’s Aid

 by Sofia Infante

 

Holocaust survivor, Graziella Viterbi, 88, expressed her gratitude for the Church’s role in saving her life in a meeting with Pope Francis on October 4. The meeting took place in the archbishop’s residence in Assisi, where her family fled during the Holocaust.

 

They greeted each other with a “shalom” as they met in the “hall of divestment”, the first time in 800 years that a pope has visited the room where many Jews sought refuge during World War II. “Thank you for what the Church did for us,” Viterbi told Pope Francis who replied, “I thank you. Pray for me.”

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Women’s Theological Voices in a Global Conversation

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Cunningham
Photo courtesy of Caitlin Cunningham

by Andrea Vicini, SJ

 

Andrea Vicini, S.J. is Associate Professor of Moral Theology on the Ecclesiastical Faculty at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, specializing in theological bioethics. A native of Italy, Fr. Vicini holds an M.D. from the University of Bologna and an S.T.D. from the Pontifical Faculty of Theology of Southern Italy. He also holds two degrees from Boston College (S.T.L. and Ph.D.). He began teaching at BC in 2009 as the holder of the Gasson Chair, and he joined the faculty at the STM the following year.

 

What would it be like to listen to Asian women Catholic theologians sharing their theological reflections and engaging in a conversation with theologians from Africa, Europe, and the USA–without leaving our campus? It would show the Catholicity of our faith. It would further enrich the theological debate with insights not yet sufficiently heard. It would also reveal a commitment to promote global interactions in sustainable ways without spending limited resources and adding more travel to our heavy carbon footprint.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

New Book by Jesuit Professor Reveals Passion for Scholarship and Ministry

by Emily Witsberger

 

Boston College’s own Rev. Jeremy Clarke, S.J., Assistant Professor of History, has contributed yet another addition to the bridge connecting the West to China. His most recent publication, The Virgin Mary and Catholic Identities in Chinese History, sheds a light on Catholicism in China, exploring how the artistic representations of the Virgin Mary tie into Chinese history and culture. Last week The Torch had the opportunity to sit down with one of BC’s most popular Jesuit professors to discuss the paths that have preceded this publication, as well as where he sees his ministry going from here.

 

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Saint of the Issue: Maximilian Kolbe

by Chris Canniff

 

Saint Maximilian Kolbe was born Raymund Kolbe on January 8, 1894 in a small town in central Poland, which was part of the Russian Empire at the time.

 

Kolbe experienced a vision of the Blessed Mother during his childhood, which he later described as follows: “That night, I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me, a Child of Faith. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Military Chaplains Face Arrest For Performing Mass During Shutdown

by Elinor Mitchell

 

Along with a number of anticipated political and economic effects, the federal government shutdown prompted one surprising consequence: the suspension of Catholic Masses at U.S. military bases. Following the government’s shutdown, all government employees, including the Catholic chaplains contracted by the government, were prohibited from performing their regular duties. Even on a volunteer basis, priests who provided services in spite of the ban faced arrest. As a result, many active duty Christians went without Mass early this month, sparking a tidal wave of protest and calls for reform. The ban, which applies to all religious leaders contracted by the government, has caused controversy and raised questions regarding religious liberty and the federal government’s right to impose on any religious practice.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Flannery O’Connor and the Last Who Shall Be First

by Marina McCoy

 

Marina McCoy is Associate Professor of Philosophy, specializing in ancient philosophy and literature with a particular emphasis on Plato, the sophists, and rhetoric. Her most recent book, Wounded Heroes: Vulnerability as a Virtue in Ancient Greek Literature and Philosophy (Oxford) was published this month.

 

"....they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, 'If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.' " (Mk. 9:35)

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Kuma’s Corner Offers Burger Topped with Wine and Unconsecrated Host

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

Controversy has sprung up in the Avondale neighborhood in Chicago after a small restaurant, Kuma’s Corner, decided to sell a burger called “Ghost” which is topped off with a wine reduction and an unconsecrated host. Luke Tobias, the Director of Operations at Kuma’s, said that the specialty burger was inspired by the Swedish heavy metal band, Ghost BC, and that they see it as a tribute to them. Relating to the fact that a host was used he said, “The thing with this is, the communion wafer is unconsecrated, so until that happens, it's really just a cracker.”

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Religion and Science Converge: Developing Environmental Ethics

by Margaret Antonio

 

“The glory of the human is becoming the desolation of the earth.” These words spoken by Fr. Thomas Berry, a Passionist priest and scholar of religion and ecology, resonate today amongst the global issues of climate change and environmental desolation. John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, both lecturers at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmentalism and the School of Divinity, have spent years conducting research and dialogues seeking to reconcile these seemingly contrasting realities of human ambition and the preservation of the earth. On October 16, they presented a lecture at the Heights Room on The Alliance of Religion and Ecology, sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry’s Church in the 21st Century Center.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

From Contemplative to Conquering: Letters between BC Jesuits and a Best-selling Author

by Margaret Antonio

 

Continuing through October 25, the Burns Library is displaying a selection of letters between the best-selling author and Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, and three Jesuits of Boston College. The exhibit highlights their correspondence, the acquisition of the transcript of Merton’s 1949 bestseller Seven Storey Mountain, and the development of an important collection at Boston College.

 

Thomas Merton had always been an admirer of the Jesuits, according to Barbara Adams Hebard, curator of the exhibit. Merton’s first encounter with the Jesuits was in reading the biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., an English poet and Jesuit priest.

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Fri

11

Oct

2013

The Protestant Perspective on Lumen Fidei

by Mark Hertenstein

Mark is a Senior Staff Columnist; he writes our monthly "Protestant Perspective" column.

 

As a Protestant, and especially as a Lutheran, I was excited about the prospect of an encyclical from the papacy on faith. Part of me wanted to see what the papacy, after centuries of dogging the Reformers, would say on the Reformers’ primary concern, and indeed if it would reflect what Martin Luther had said all along. Part of me cringed for fear that should it not be done properly (read: the pope goes against current thought and scholarship about the issue of faith on both sides), it would perpetuate a division that should not exist between the two sides.

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Thu

10

Oct

2013

Fr. Himes Speaks on Living Catholicism Today

by Natalie Yuhas

 

The Church in the 21st Century Center recently published the third C21 Resources issue, “Living Catholicism: Roles and Relationships for a Contemporary World,” in honor of both Boston College's Sesquicentennial and the Church in the 21st Century Center's 10th anniversary. To accompany the magazine, C21 presented Fr. Michael Himes, who edited the magazine, as a speaker on Thursday, October 3 in Gasson 100. There was a full audience present of both students and residents from the surrounding areas. Fr. Himes used four points from Pope Francis’ recent interview in America magazine to guide his talk.

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Thu

10

Oct

2013

BC Professors Screen Documentary at MFA

by Jay Chin

 

Who Takes Away the Sins: Witnesses to Clergy Abuse, a 52 minute-long documentary about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis in the United States produced by Professors John and Susan Michalczyk, was screened this past weekend at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

 

The interviewees include survivors, attorneys and advocates from the Boston area. The film intertwines the development of the crisis as the cases came to light and the experiences of the survivors as they were abused by clerics, most for a lengthy duration.

Walter Robinson of the Boston Globe explains how what he thought was scandal involving well over a dozen priests turned out to involve over two hundred priests in the Boston Archdiocese alone. Cardinal Bernard Law is a featured figure because of his position as archbishop when the scandal broke; he is portrayed as an idle figure, unwilling to make significant contributions to aid the victims who were seeking justice. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian characterized the Church as the richest institution in the world and one that has been doing these kinds of heinous acts for centuries.

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Thu

10

Oct

2013

Sesquicentennial Event Explores Role of Catholic Laity

by Alessandra Luedeking

 

On the evening of September 26th, Boston College hosted its sesquicentennial panel discussion entitled, “Coworkers in the Vineyard: The Role of the Catholic Laity in the Life of Public Service and Scholarship,” in the Robsham Theater. The discussion was sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry and moderated by its dean, Mark Massa, S.J. The panel was comprised of five distinguished Catholic leaders in the United States: Simone Campbell, S.S.S., the Executive Director of NETWORK, a progressive Catholic movement for peace and justice through social and economic change; E.J. Dionne Jr., a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution, and professor at Georgetown University; Thomas H. Groome, a professor of theology and religious education in the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry; Jane McAuliffe, an internationally respected scholar of the Koran and Muslim-Christian relations and former president of Bryn Mawr College; and Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics and co-founder of CASTLE, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.

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