Faculty Columns

Thu

29

Sep

2016

The Padlock

by Peter Kreeft

 

 

Professor Peter Kreeft joined the Boston College philosophy faculty in 1965 and is the author of more than seventy books. He is a widely sought-after speaker on Catholic apologetics, and he specializes in the philosophy of religion as well as the thought of C.S. Lewis.

 

 

The secret of life is not known to most people.

 

Some think there is no secret. Some think they have found it in power, or cleverness, or money, or pleasure. But most people know, deep down, that there is some secret, some “more,” that the great saints and sages and mystics (and the many, many little ones too) have discovered and others have not. They know this not because they have figured it out but because they have met one of these people.

 

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Tue

29

Mar

2016

Exchanging Easter Gifts

by Fr. Peter Folan, S.J.

 

Father Peter Folan is a native of Massapequa Park on Long Island. Fr. Folan attended the University of Notre Dame and earned a bachelor’s degree in the Program of Liberal Studies and German in 2000. In 2003, he entered the Society of Jesus. In 2010, he was missioned to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where he earned a Master of Divinity as well as a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. Fr. Folan is serving as an associate pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

Receiving gifts is a feature more frequently associated with Christmas than it is with Easter, but this did not stop St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, from encouraging his spiritual heirs to have a small Easter wish list in mind this time of year.  In fact, he even did them the favor of writing up exactly what that list should include: “Ask for the grace to be glad and to rejoice intensely because of the great glory and joy of Christ our Lord.”

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Tue

26

Jan

2016

Father Ragheed of the Eucharist

Msgr. Liam Bergin

 

 

Monsignor Liam Bergin is a sacramental theologian and a priest of the Diocese of Ossory in Ireland. He holds degrees in mathematics, chemistry, education, and theology. After living and working in Rome for several years, where he taught at the Pontifical Gregorian University and served as rector of the Pontifical Irish College, Msgr. Bergin moved to Boston in 2011 to teach sacramental theology at Boston College. He assists the priests who serve in the parishes of South Boston.

 

 

Fr. Ragheed Ganni was brutally murdered along with three sub-deacons after he had celebrated Mass for his parish community in Mosul, Iraq on June 3, 2007. One of the gunmen demanded to know why Fr. Ragheed had not closed down the church as he had been ordered to do.  “How can I close the house of God?” he replied as he was gunned down.  Ragheed was just 35 years old. He had been ordained a priest in Rome only six years ealier.

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Tue

17

Nov

2015

A Meditation of the Autumn Sun

by Peter Kreeft

 

Professor Peter Kreeft joined the Boston College philosophy faculty in 1965 and is the author of more than seventy books. He is a widely sought-after speaker on Catholic apologetics, and he specializes in the philosophy of religion as well as the thought of C.S. Lewis. 

 

It is the last week in October here in New England, and it is called “Indian summer.” I sit in my backyard catching the last warmth of the sun before the winter cold sets in. The colors of the foliage are as crisp as the breath of the morning air and the corresponding breath of my spirit. The trees are singing in color. The red leaves are drops of blood, the yellow leaves are suns, and the orange leaves are fires.


I cannot imagine living in any place without four seasons, especially autumn. Its beauty is a sweet sadness, as unique as death. Beauty’s vocation is to break our hearts, and “good-bye” breaks hearts more powerfully than “hello.” Our most beautiful plays are tragedies, and our most beautiful music is in the minor key. There will not be another day this summery in six more months. Because our summers here are so short, we love them with a Scandinavian passion. (I cannot think of any other sentence that justifies that phrase!)

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Tue

28

Apr

2015

The Shepherd and the Sheep

by Donald MacMillan, SJ

 

Donald MacMillan, SJ received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College in 1966 and a master of divinity from Boston College in 1972.  After being ordained in 1972, Fr. MacMillian held both teaching and administrative roles at Jesuit high schools. He has been a campus minister at Boston College since 1995 and coordinates the Urban Immersion Program.   

 

Several years ago I had the good fortune to spend a few days at the home and retreat house of the family of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus, in Loyola, Spain. I was looking out the window at the hillsides and imagining Ignatius and friends romping through the fields when they were children. That day the hills were covered with sheep. At one point, they all stopped grazing and looked up. I followed their gaze to an elderly gentleman sitting under a tree. Every time he moved, the sheep watched him. At the end of the day he got up, sent his sheep dog up into the hills to gather the sheep; there were a few who wandered off on their own, and they all got in line behind the shepherd. When he got to the sheepfold, he opened the gate and said something to each one as they entered.

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Tue

28

Apr

2015

John Chrysostom’s Commentary on Matthew: A New Translation

by Margaret Schatkin

 

Margaret Schatkin is an associate professor of theology, having joined the faculty in 1969. A member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, she specializes in patristics, with a special emphasis on the theology of John Chrysostom.

 

The Gospel of Matthew is thought by some to be the most important book ever written and was more widely used in the early Church than any other Gospel.

 

St. John Chrysostom (A.D. 349-407) is a Father and Doctor of the Church, who possessed a knowledge of Holy Scripture which few will ever match. His treatises and sermons contain approximately eighteen thousand verses of Scripture, often quoted from memory. Pope Leo XIII designated him “the prince of orators,” and Pius X declared him to be the official “Patron of Preachers.”

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Tue

24

Mar

2015

Discerning Love, Discerning Hope

by Tim Muldoon

 

Tim Muldoon (A&S ’92) is a theologian and author/editor of nine books, including Longing to Love: A Memoir of Desire, Relationships, and Spiritual Transformation (Loyola Press). He and his wife Sue (A&S ’90) have been married for 22 years.

 

It is early morning one August, when there are hints that the night’s long darkness has buckled and given way to the first hints of a coming sunrise. I am awake, and have been for the past twenty hours. For the past eight, I have been reading.


I am a rising junior at Boston College, and know something about reading books. Yet seldom (if ever) have I been seized by a book as I have been this night. I cannot put it down. I am inhaling deep draughts of this story like a man rising to the surface of the water in which he has nearly drowned. I had begun reading a chapter, then another, watching the time. And before I know it, I am gripped and realize that I cannot allow another day to go by without knowing the rest of the story.

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Tue

24

Feb

2015

Families Today—The Church’s Response

by Lisa Sowle Cahill

 

Lisa Sowle Cahill received her BA from the Santa Clara University and her MA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She has taught at Boston College since 1976, and has been a visiting professor at Georgetown and Yale Universities. She and her husband Larry are the parents of five children.


Everyone in some sense belongs to a family—just by virtue of the fact that two people with their own birth families in turn became our parents.  For most of us, our families--for all their problem relatives, inevitable internal frictions, and geographical separations are still networks to which we “belong” and to which we have great loyalty.  Yet it is no secret that families in the U.S. today are under many pressures, not least of which are economic.  Discrimination by race, class, gender or immigrant status challenge families, and violence within the family is a blight too frequently ignored.  Moreover, families today exist in many forms—nuclear families, extended families, interfaith families, blended families, adoptive families, single-parent families, families headed by gay and lesbian couples, and the growing number of families in which unmarried parents are raising children together.  In fact, families in this country that are untouched by any of these phenomena are few and far between. 

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Tue

24

Feb

2015

Ships Passing through the Night: The Ethics of Risk and the Gambling Debate

by Richard McGowan, S.J.

 

Richard McGowan, SJ is an Adjunct Associate Professor of the Carroll School of Management and an Adjunct Associate Professor of the Economics Department in the College of Arts & Sciences at Boston College. He is also a Research Associate at Harvard Medical, Division on Addictions. The focus of his research is on the interaction of the Business and Public Policy processes especially, as they relate to the gambling, tobacco, and alcohol industries.

 

The metaphor of “Ships Passing through the Night” is perhaps overused but in discussing how the two sides of the gambling debate view each other it is appropriate. The key to this misunderstanding is the concept of “risk”. The term “risk” is derived from the Italian risco or rischio which implies both the danger that one is taking and the venture that one is embarking on. It was first used in the Renaissance mercantile world to describe the situation faced by sailors and the owners of ships as they sailed the dangerous waters around Africa and the Americas in the adventurous search for precious cargo that could be sold in Europe. The word then slowly moved into everyday language especially describing strategies behind gambling and warfare.

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Wed

28

Jan

2015

Translating the Bible

by Nicholas King, SJ


Nicholas King SJ is a Visiting Professor at the  Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. For the past 13 years he has been at Campion Hall Oxford, as Spiritual Father and Fellow in New Testament; before that he was in South Africa for a similar period, teaching New Testament in seminaries and universities, and doing academic administration.


A funny thing happened to me on the way to Boston College (where for this academic year I find myself called a Visiting Professor for the School of Theology and Ministry): I translated the Bible. That sounds more flippant than I intend, but it is true, and I still find it a bit surprising. It has also been a great gift to me from God, a vocation within my vocation, if you like. But how did it happen? It is rare, unless you are St Jerome, to sit down with a view to doing such a thing, and I have to say that I really did not think that I should live to complete it. Best, perhaps, if I tell you how it happened.

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Mon

08

Dec

2014

Recovering a Theological Sense of Storytelling

by Yin Yuan

 

Yin Yuan is a doctoral student in the English department, studying nineteenth-century British literature, with particular focus in the intersecting areas of religion, aesthetics, and politics. Her other research interests include deconstruction, postmodern theology, and all things John Milton. Yin holds double B.A.s in English and Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley.

 

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Mon

08

Dec

2014

A Jesuit at Oxford

by. T. Frank Kennedy, SJ

 

A graduate of the Boston College Class of 1971, T. Frank Kennedy, SJ is a professor in the music department.  For several years, he served as the rector of the Boston College Jesuit Community.  He is currently on sabbatical at Campion Hall, Oxford in the U.K.

 

For something a little different this month, the editors of The Torch asked me to write about my experience as a Jesuit from Boston College who is also part of the Jesuit apostolic work at Campion Hall, Oxford University in Great Britain during the present academic year. In fact I am on sabbatical leave from Boston College enjoying a year of research and writing. Campion Hall is referred to in Oxford as one of the four  PPH’s of the university. PPH stands for permanent private hall. Each of these halls is a smaller operation than any of the thirty-seven Oxford colleges that make up Oxford University, but nevertheless each functions just 

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Wed

22

Oct

2014

Love and the Shuttle Bus

by Robert D. Farrell, SJ

 

 

Rev. Robert D. Farrell, SJ is a priest of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus and is a native of Leominster, MA. Ordained in 1964, Fr. Farrell has held teaching posts at other Jesuit schools, some of which are now defunct, including Baghdad College, St. Stanislaus Novitiate (Shadowbrook), and Cranwell School. Since leaving his position at Cheverus High School in 1990, he has been at Boston College serving as an adjunct professor of English and formerly as an assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences.

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Wed

22

Oct

2014

Jesuit Tradition: Woods College of Advancing Studies

by Fr. Joseph You Guo Jiang, S.J.

 

Fr. Joseph You Guo Jiang, S.J. is a member of the Jesuit Chinese Province and a member of Jesuit Community at Boston College. In 2008, he came to Boston College to pursue his doctoral studies in Higher Education Leadership and completed his degree in 2012. Prior to the United States, he has studied and worked in several Asian countries.

 

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Tue

23

Sep

2014

The Ten Commandments of the Sea

by Peter Kreeft

 

Professor Peter Kreeft joined the Boston College philosophy faculty in 1965 and is the author of more than seventy books. He is a widely sought-after speaker on Catholic apologetics, and he specializes in the philosophy of religion as well as the thought of C.S. Lewis. The following piece is excerpted from his book, I Surf, Therefore I Am.

 

Surfing is not an organized religion; it’s more like a disorganized religion. But it’s not so disorganized that it has no commandments. In fact, it has ten, and they are very similar to the ten you already know from Moses (or rather from God through Moses):

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Tue

23

Sep

2014

Crosswalk

by Francis Sweeney, SJ

 

The late Rev. Francis W. Sweeney, SJ (1916-2002) was a professor of English at Boston College from 1951 until his retirement in 1998. A dear friend of the famous poet T.S. Eliot and his wife Valerie, Fr. Sweeney knew many luminaries in the field of literature. For the full duration of his time at BC, he was the faculty advisor to the student literary magazine Stylus, and he also founded the Lowell Humanities Series which, over the years, has brought to campus such notable intellectuals as W.H. Auden, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, Hans Küng, and Karl Rahner, SJ among others. The following piece was published by Fr. Sweeney in The New York Times on September 1, 1972. It later appeared in his collection of essays entitled It Will Take a Lifetime.

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Tue

29

Apr

2014

He Was The One

by Fr. William C. Russell, SJ

 

Fr. William C. Russell, SJ, a native of Winthrop, MA, entered the Society of Jesus in 1952 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1965. After completing his studies at Boston College and Harvard University, Fr. Russell studied philosophy and theology in France. When he returned to the United States he served as rector of the Jesuit Community at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in California, president of Cheverus High School, director of admissions at Boston College High School, province assistant for development, province vocation director, and superior of the Patrick House Jesuit Community in Kingston, Jamaica. He is now retired and is a member of the Boston College Jesuit Community.

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Tue

29

Apr

2014

Nunz ‘n the Hood

by Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM

 

Sr. Mary Ann Hinsdale is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Before coming to Boston College in 2000, she was at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where she taught theology, was the Chair of the Religious Studies department, and served as a Director of Women’s Studies. Hinsdale specializes in ecclesiology, Christology, theological anthropology, and feminist theologies.

 

One of BC’s best kept secrets might be the “Nunz ‘n the Hood”! Lest you think this is some new acapella group, riffing on the 1991 movie “Boyz ‘n the Hood,” I want to assure you that the members of this group comprise the real life “nuns” (more accurately, “Sisters”) who minister here at Boston College as professors, administrators, and staff members.

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Tue

25

Mar

2014

The Three Books

by Kenneth J. Hughes, S.J.

 

Kenneth J. Hughes, S.J. is a visiting spiritual director at Boston College.

He is a member of the New England Province and resides in the St. Peter Faber Jesuit Community, Brighton.

 

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, back in the 12th century, spoke of three books which God has given us to read: The Book of Nature, The Book of Scripture, and The Book of Personal Experience. For each person these three books are always available and wonderfully timeless. How enriched we would be if we read from each book daily -- now reading from Nature, now reading from Scripture, now reflecting on our Experience! Here are a few comments on each book.

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Tue

25

Mar

2014

The Privileged Poor

by Roberto Goizueta

 

Roberto S. Goizueta is the Margaret O’Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology at Boston College, where he has taught since 1999.  Dr. Goizueta has served as President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States.  He has published and lectured extensively in the areas of U.S. Latino/a theology, liberation theology, and theological aesthetics.

 

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Tue

25

Feb

2014

Blessed John XXIII National Seminary and Boston College Connections

by Charles J. Healey, S.J.

 

Fr. Charles J. Healey, S.J. is a member of the Jesuit Community at Boston College and has been a member of the University Chorale for roughly 40 years. He is currently professor of systematic and spiritual theology at Blessed John XXIII Seminary and is presently writing a history of the Seminary as part of the observance of its 50th anniversary.

 

 

Boston College has recently completed a successful celebration of the sesquicentennial anniversary of its founding. It is well to note that there is another nearby institution celebrating its 50th anniversary this year that has a number of connections with Boston College. The institution is Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, MA, founded in 1964.

 

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Tue

25

Feb

2014

Ignatian Indifference

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 in October 2013.

 

In Ignatian spirituality, the term “indifference” is central. The idea of “indifference” points back to the “Principle and Foundation” of the Spiritual Exercises, in which “we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly with all the rest.” For the purpose of life is to know, to love, and to serve God. Slowly, we learn that all conditions of life can draw us ever closer to Love.

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Tue

28

Jan

2014

Pope Francis and International Relations: A New Diplomacy of Dialogue

Photo courtesy of Lee Pellegrini
Photo courtesy of Lee Pellegrini

by Fr. Charles R. Gallagher, S.J

 

 

 

Charles R. Gallagher, S.J. is an assistant professor in the Department of History. His latest writing is “The Roman Catholic Church and Modern Terrorism: Ideology, Human Rights, and the Hermeneutic of Discontinuity,” in Socialist History.

 

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Tue

28

Jan

2014

Creation and Anthropology: Biblical Understandings of What it Means to Be Human

by John A. Darr, Associate Professor of Theology

 

John Darr is an Associate Professor in the Theology Department at Boston College. Darr received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and joined the theology faculty in 1988. He is a United Methodist, and his research interests include the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, literary criticism and theory, Biblical characters and characterization, and Synoptic relations.

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Tue

10

Dec

2013

Chrysostom on the Birth of Christ

by Margaret Schatkin

 

Margaret Schatkin is an associate professor of theology, having joined the faculty in 1969. A member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, she specializes in patristics, with a special emphasis on the theology of John Chrysostom.

 

“Dies igitur vera natalis [Christi] ignoratur.” So wrote Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609) in Book VI of his Opus de emendatione temporum, referring to the indeterminacy in antiquity of the actual day of Christ’s birth. Indeed, most liturgical scholars today do not consider December 25th to be the actual day of His birth. St. John Chrysostom, however, asserts that the date of December 25th is historically accurate, citing records of the census taken at His birth and stored in the archives of Rome. These interesting remarks appear in his Christmas sermon, (PG 49, 351-62) Let’s take a closer look at the nature and validity of Chrysostom’s claim.

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