Jesuit USA Newsletter

March 23, 2001



In This Issue


Eleven Jesuits Declared Blessed

On March 11, 2001, the pope declared Blessed a large group of priests, religious, and lay people who suffered martyrdom in Spain during the Civil War (1936-39). Among them, there are eleven Jesuits who belonged to the then Aragón Province.

The 11 martyrs:

[Source: http://www.jesuits-europe.org ]

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Chicago's Cristo Rey High School Looked at as a Model

The unlikely pairing of Jesuit educators and a California venture capitalist could result in the creation of a high school that is unique in Cleveland, Ohio. This high school would let poor children pay for most of their tuition by working at outside jobs. Backers of this project expect to commission a study of the jobs-for-tuition school, which would be modeled after the successful Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in the Pilsen-Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. Jeff Theilman of the Cassin Educational Initiatives Foundation, which was started by venture capitalist B J Cassin to replicate Cristo Rey in other cities, thinks that Cleveland is an ideal city for this kind of a project.

Cristo Rey, which serves mostly poor, Mexican-American boys and girls in an area with high unemployment and staggering dropout rates, has drawn national attention. It provides an excellent preparatory school education for youngsters of limited means. Now in its fifth year, the Jesuit-sponsored Cristo Rey has gained a reputation for high academic achievement, an innovative curriculum, and for sending more than 75 percent of its graduates to college.

However, what makes the school unique is the way in which it supports itself. Students attend school four days a week. About once a week or five times a month, they work at a corporation or other business, sharing a single "corporate internship." It is the cooperation with these businesses, which commit themselves to financing one position that is shared among several students, that makes the system work.

Employers work directly with the school. It allows companies to have a sense of civic responsibility and know that their contributions are well spent. At Cristo Rey this year, for example, employers paid about $6,900 of a student's $9,100 tuition. Parents are asked to pay the other $2,200 -- less than half of what they would pay at most other Chicago-area Catholic high schools.

The principal of St Ignatius High School Cleveland, Richard Clark, notes that "the issues that usually surface when you talk about starting a school for the poor or inner-city kids just disappear with this model." In a sense, each child brings in more than $6,000 before they pay any tuition. For years Clark has been friends with Cristo Rey's president, Fr John Foley SJ, and is serving as the local point man to bring such a school to the Cleveland area. Clark has met with a number of people to float the idea of establishing a Cristo Rey-style school. One Cleveland City Councilman, Mr Nelson Cintron, noted: "I am committed to public education, but any help we can get is a win-win situation." [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mark McCarthy]

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Academic Convocation to Commemorate Founding of the Roman College

The Pontifical Gregorian University will mark the 450th anniversary of the founding of the Roman College in 1551 with an Academic Convocation on the 4th and 5th of April.

A series of lectures will discuss the Gregorian's mission in today's world with respect to four topics: Christian faith and global justice; culture; inter-religious dialogue; and the needs of the universal Church.

Gregorian faculty members and guests from various dicasteries of the Holy See and from other worldwide academic and civic institutions will consider what this unique university can learn from its long history so as to face the new challenges of the third millennium with renewed vigor and creative fidelity to the Church. The speakers include Fernando de la Rua, President of the Republic of Argentina; Federico Mayor, Director of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace and former Director of UNESCO; Dr Antonio Fazio, Governor of Banca d'Italia; and Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, General of the Society of Jesus. [Source: Michael Hilbert SJ]

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The Vatican and Fr Jacques Dupuis

"If all believers can be saved, are all religions the same?" This is the question that numerous faithful have asked the Holy See, after reading the book of a well-known Belgian theologian on the topic of religious pluralism. In response, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a "Notification" in late February that clarifies some of the affirmations made by Jesuit Fr Jacques Dupuis on essential aspects of the Church's message.

The document analyzes the book "Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism" (Orbis Book: Maryknoll, New York, 1997), written by the theology professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, who for decades has taught in India. The Vatican congregation, responsible for safeguarding the integrity of the deposit of faith, in its Notification said that it "found that his book contained notable ambiguities and difficulties on important doctrinal points, which could lead a reader to erroneous or harmful opinions."

The Vatican document was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document was the result of years of discussion with Fr Dupuis. From the very outset Dupuis admitted that "his hypotheses may raise as many questions as they seek to answer."

As both the author and the Vatican congregation acknowledge, the question lies in the fact that the book "is not simply a theology of religions, but a theology of religious pluralism, which seeks to investigate, in the light of Christian faith, the significance of plurality of religious traditions in God's plan for humanity." Therefore, it is about a new approach and, as all new arguments, confronts the author with "questions hitherto largely unexplored."

Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Bertone acknowledge "the author's attempt to remain within the limits of orthodoxy in his study." The theologian has confirmed his attitude in a series of responses, which he offered to experts and consultors of the congregation June 30, 1999.

The Notification refers to the book's arguments about the concept of salvation in Christ, which can lead one to think that any religion is, in itself, a valid way for salvation. However, anyone who believes that there is salvation outside of Christ, although he has the right to so believe, cannot regard himself with full knowledge as a Christian.

The Second Vatican Council taught that all believers of different religions are saved if they are faithful to their conscience; however, they do so in virtue of the salvation brought by Jesus himself. In particular, the Holy See explains that the "points concerned the interpretation of the sole and universal salvific mediation of Christ, the unicity and completeness of Christ's revelation, the universal salvific action of the Holy Spirit, the orientation of all people to the Church, and the value and significance of the salvific function of other religions."

Fr Dupuis, 76, committed himself "to assent to the stated theses and, in his future theological activity and publications, to hold the doctrinal contents indicated in the Notification as well as in all future translations." [Source: Zenith.org]

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Theologian calls Vatican Investigation a 'Great Suffering'

Though cleared of doctrinal error, Fr Jacques Dupuis SJ said a two-and-and-a-half-year Vatican investigation of his book "Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism" had been "a very great suffering."

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a "notification" in February, criticizing Fr Dupuis' book on non-Christian religions as ambiguous and potentially misleading.

Fr Dupuis said he was unhappy with the Vatican's conclusions, but he now felt free to pursue his theological writing and lecturing.

The Jesuit theologian said the most painful part of the investigation, in addition to being initially accused of doctrinal error, was the Vatican's requirement that he not actively pursue his theology or discuss the investigation publicly while it was ongoing. Another source of suffering, he said, was that the doctrinal congregation never communicated with him directly, but only through his superiors.

Fr Dupuis said the doctrinal congregation faithfully followed its norms for investigating theologians, but "of course it can be asked whether these norms are just." "The relationship between the central doctrinal authority of the church and the thought of many, many theologians today is a big problem," he said.

With the Vatican's teaching ban lifted, Fr Dupuis said he plans to attend theological conferences in Belgium and Poland this year, and next year at the Catholic University of America in Washington. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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A Clash of Cultures and Ideologies: Advertising and the Gospel

Early in March the London Financial Times reported that the Gospel of Nike, Microsoft, and Disney are the "New Religion." From an industry not known for understatement, comes a new boast: Belief in consumer brands has replaced religious faith as the thing that gives purpose to people's lives. "Brands are the new religion. People turn to them for meaning," the ad agency Young & Rubicam declared.

In heady language, the agency said: "The brands that are succeeding are those with strong beliefs and original ideas. They are also the ones that have the passion and energy to change the world and to convert people to their way of thinking though outstanding communications."

Young & Rubicam's cheeky claim follows a report last year from Fitch, the London design consultancy, that also deified consumer brands. Fitch said many people flocked to Ikea instead of church on Sundays. Since 1991, it added, 12,000 people had been married at Walt Disney World, and it was becoming common in the United States for Harley-Davidson motorcycle aficionados to be buried in Harley-branded coffins, the Financial Times said.

Young & Rubicam suggested that today's brand builders could be compared to the missionaries who spread Christianity and Islam around the world. "It was the passion with which they communicated those beliefs that led to people responding in their millions, because the religions were based on powerful ideas that gave meaning and purpose to life," said Jim Williams, the ad agency's European strategy director.

In the same way, Y&R said, the most successful brands today are those that stand not just for quality and reliability but for a set of beliefs that they refuse to compromise. The agency named Calvin Klein, Gatorade, Ikea, Microsoft, MTV, Nike, Virgin, Sony Playstation, and Yahoo! as examples of uncompromising "belief brands." Paradoxically, Nike is the subject of controversy over labor practices in its subcontractors' Third World factories.

The Anglican Church said Y&R's findings were "good news" if they meant companies would come under more pressure to incorporate social responsibility into their brand values, the Financial Times reported. The Anglicans also pointed out that the Christian faith had one of the oldest and most recognized branding devices in the world: the cross. [Source: Zenith.org]

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Jesuit in Kenya Sees Hope in Generic AIDS Drugs

"I'm sick and tired of saying funerals. So now we are going to try a different way," says Fr Angelo D'Agostino SJ, director of Nyumbani, an AIDS orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Fr D'Agostino, weary of watching children succumb to AIDS, feels that the difference between life and death in Africa now depends on which company puts its label on the bottle.

A $9 daily cocktail of AIDS drugs that the orphanage has been receiving has helped the suffering of the children; there have been no deaths since the drug program got into full swing last August.

Staffers say the drug is as effective as the Western drugs. The only difference is the price: while the Western drugs cost $3,000 per year, the generic offered by India's Cipla drug company cost around $350 per year.

Now the orphanage is taking on global drug titans in an effort to bring drugs to millions of other dying Africans. Nyumbani announced it would defy international patent law and start importing a new AIDS drug from India.

The Nyumbani orphanage could only treat the 12 worst-affected children with its $3,000 monthly budget for AIDS drugs, which come from US and European benefactors.

With generics, all 71 children in the orphanage can be treated. But the four companies that dominate the industry have thrown their weight behind preventing such generics from being sold in Africa.

In March, a coalition of 42 drug companies launched a court case in South Africa to force the government there to overturn legislation allowing generics.

Following criticism of their pricing structures, some drug companies promised to slash their prices by 85 percent last May. But, with a few isolated exceptions, they still have not delivered. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

To read more about the Jesuits working in East Africa go to: http://www.companysj.com/v182/africa.htm

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Canadian Library Acquires Books by 17th-century Jesuits

The National Library of Canada has acquired six more 17th-century Jesuit Relations -- books written by Jesuit missionaries in North America between 1632 and 1673. With the new acquisitions, the library now has 35 of the 41 Relations.

The six books -- two from a Canadian book dealer and the other four from an auction in New York -- are on exhibition in the foyer of the library's headquarters in Ottawa. They contain writings of the Jesuit Fathers each year between 1632 and 1673 in then-New France, today eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi Valley. The books were printed in Paris after being submitted to the congregation's superior in France.

The writings were supposed to be private reports between the missionaries and the superior, but they became invaluable as historical sources for French exploration and native relations. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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USF Fires Directors of Ignatius Institute

President of the University of San Francisco (USF) Fr Stephen A Privett SJ has dismissed the directors of the St Ignatius Institute, a 25-year-old academic program that emphasized Catholic values and Jesuit teaching methods.

John Galten, director and co-founder of the institute, and assistant director John Hamlon were dismissed. Paul V Murphy, an institute professor who was named the new director, said, "Some see this as the end of the institute, but that's not the way we view it."

Six longtime institute professors issued an open letter stating that they would not support an institute whose nature would be "dramatically different from the vision of its founders" and will "no longer voluntarily teach in the program or its surrogates" after the spring 2001 term concludes.

"The injustice in the termination of Mr Galten and Mr Hamlon is manifest to all who know them and the institute," the professors said, adding that the move "signals clearly" that university administrators plan to "alter fundamentally" the institute's character.

University provost James L Wiser characterized the reorganization as a "more strategic use of resources," adding that the aim is to promote coordination among the institute, the university's Catholic studies program, which Murphy also directs, and the theology department.

Fr Privett cited two areas in which the institute's administrators were devoting time to matters that overlapped with existing university offices. He said the institute was "running its own study-abroad programs and recruiting students," which should have been handled by the international studies and admissions offices.

Institute co-founder Fr Joseph D Fessio SJ said he was not surprised at the move, which he said stemmed from a longtime effort of "some members of the university, primarily by Jesuits teaching in the theology department, because they claimed an implicit criticism that what they were doing was not adequate."

The institute was viewed as "too narrow and too extremist," said Fr Fessio, the institute's director until 1987. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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On the Web You Can Find ...

Remembrance of Things Past

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From the Editors

JesuitUSA News is a service of Company Magazine. In addition to the print edition, almost all of the items in Company Magazine can be viewed via the World Wide Web at http://www.companysj.com/. Any correspondence concerning this mailing list should be sent to the editor at <[email protected]>. The newsletter is available to all Jesuits, to those who work with them, or to those who are simply interested in what they are doing. Tell your friends; the price is right! If you are requesting addition to the list, please include your real name as well as your email address. If you are changing your address, please include YOUR NAME as well as both the NEW and the OLD email addresses.

The editor of this Newsletter is Richard VandeVelde SJ who is ably assisted by Ms Rebecca Troha, Assistant Editor. They would both like to remind you of the following useful WWW links for items of Jesuit interest. Many of these links will lead you to others.


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AMDG


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