Jesuit USA Newsletter

April 27, 2001



In This Issue


Jesuit Pastor Ministers in Troubled Cincinnati Area

Fr Richard Bollman SJ said the first emotion he experienced as he walked the streets of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood April 11 was fear. The tension was palpable, he said, made worse by the sense that more violence was to come in this neighborhood.

Fr Bollman was among numerous ministers invited by the Cincinnati Police Department to walk the streets of Over-the-Rhine in the hope that their conversation might quell further violence following the April 7 shooting death of Timothy Thomas by a Cincinnati policeman. The shooting sparked several days of rioting and looting, which prompted Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken to impose a nightly curfew April 12-16.

"We were out for about an hour and a half, talking with people who were on the streets or standing on their porches and stoops," Fr Bollman said. "We met marvelous people, families who had lived in Over-the-Rhine for generations and who were genuinely concerned about their property and the safety of their families," he said.

But, Fr Bollman said, he didn't believe that the message of peace was getting through to the teenagers his group encountered. "I found it most difficult to make a real conversation with the teenagers," he said. "They were friendly, but they were into themselves. This was before the curfew was enacted and the more severe destruction was going to happen."

Fr Bollman noted that he could sense tension among the residents he talked with when they saw Cincinnati patrol cars driving by. "Their mood shifted," he said. "You could see real anger in their faces. This was a real threat they were experiencing. They told us they felt that they were constantly under surveillance and that they resented their [police] presence."

Yet, Fr Bollman said, many residents admitted that they also needed the police presence to counter a criminal element that they say lurks in the neighborhood's alleys.

He called for patience and prayer by members of the Cincinnati Police Department. "They've got to step aside from their own cynicism about change," he said. "We can afford to believe that change is possible, as long as we envision it in small, very specific steps." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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JRS Field Studies Reveal New Findings on Irregular Migration

Measures being taken across the EU are preventing people who are in real need of asylum from getting the protection they deserve and are having serious effects on human rights. These are just two of the findings of a number of empirical field studies commissioned by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

Refugees have many fears about the asylum process and, as a result of these fears, a considerable number go the route of irregular immigration instead. A number of factors have served to heighten fears among asylum seekers, including a fear of detention and a perceived growing culture of disbelief among decision-making authorities.

In addition many countries are seen by EU member states as ‘safe countries of origin' and people with a genuine case from those countries feel their asylum application will have little chance of success.

"We are extremely concerned at the results of this research," says John Dardis SJ, Regional Director of JRS Europe. "One strand of it shows that the people who are the most vulnerable and who have most claim on our compassion are afraid to pursue that claim through channels open to them as of right.

"Asylum seekers are being forced into the arms of traffickers. Another strand of the research highlights something of which we have been aware for some time, the fact that alongside an asylum system there is an urgent need for an immigration policy. Since most irregular migrants do not fulfil the requirements of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, they cannot claim refugee status. There has to be a system that addresses their needs in an just way and with a respect for their human rights."

"We need to get rid of the barriers which are forcing people to resort to traffickers," said Lena Barrett, policy officer with JRS Europe. "If we do not, we will have strengthened criminal elements who unscrupulously trade in human cargo; their increasing power must be a concern to all."

Based on the results of the research, JRS is calling for more humane asylum procedures and the creation of a just immigration policy. The research was carried out by teams working in Germany, Spain, and the UK and was summarized by Matthew Gibney at Oxford University. [Source: Jesuit Refugee Service]

For more information go to: http://www.jesref.org/inf/alert/eulatest.htm

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Catholic Organizations Urge Senators to Use Budget Surplus to Aid Uninsured

The federal budget surplus estimated at $3.1 trillion over the next decade offers an "opportunity to dedicate necessary resources toward reducing the number of uninsured," three Catholic leaders told US senators in a letter.

Fr Fred Kammer SJ, president of Catholic Charities USA; Cardinal Roger M Mahony of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCC Domestic Policy Committee; and Fr Michael D Place, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association wrote: "At the very minimum, we urge that Congress include sufficient funding in the budget to reflect President Bush's recommendation during the presidential campaign that we commit $132 billion over 10 years to expand coverage to the uninsured.

"As organizations united in a faith tradition and Catholic social justice teaching, we are compelled to reach out and recognize the inherent dignity of every human being," the letter said. "In a just society, we need to protect and promote these fundamental rights -- with a special priority given to meeting the basic needs of the poor and underserved, especially the need for safe and affordable health care."

The Catholic leaders said the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated a federal budget surplus in the next 10 years of $3.1 trillion. They also noted that some 43 million people in the United States currently have no health insurance.

"While costs to cover the uninsured vary, a study by the Rand Corporation calculated that an additional $20 billion annually would be needed to pay for their care," they added.

The letter noted that most of the uninsured "come from working families whose employers do not provide health coverage and who lack the financial means to secure health insurance for themselves."

To ignore the problem would be false economy, the leaders said. "The uninsured ... have a higher rate of hospitalization for treatable conditions such as hypertension, asthma or diabetes," they said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Jesuit says Salvadoran Government Uses Quake Aid Politically

The government of El Salvador is using earthquake aid "to support a political agenda," says Fr Mauricio Gaborit SJ. He said Central American University, where he is academic vice president, has taken a lead in providing psychological assistance to children traumatized by the January quake, which killed hundreds and left some 200,000 homes destroyed or uninhabitable.

Fr Gaborit said the country was totally unprepared for the disaster and "the amount of aid is substantially less than what people think."

But he said that what aid there is "is being steered by the government and is being taken to support a political agenda. They are using it as a political campaign." Those in the opposition party are seeing little of the aid, he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Cardinal Dulles Preps Seminarians on Roles of the Priesthood

The role of the priest is to "direct and encourage others" and "raise up others" toward God in a mission of service, Cardinal Avery Dulles told seminarians, faculty, and guests at Immaculate Conception Seminary in the Newark Archdiocese.

The Jesuit theologian said there are three functions of the priesthood: the priestly, the royal, and the prophetic.

The priestly function emphasizes the priest is "the visible representative of Christ ... just as Christ is the visible representative of God," he said. He pointed out that in celebrating the Eucharist the priest says, "This is my body" and "This is my blood," and that in the sacrament of reconciliation the priest says, "I absolve you."

The priest's prophetic function involves support for Christ and his church, Cardinal Dulles said. "The priest preaches the Word of God, not his own word," he added. "People count on us when we are in the pulpit to give a reliable account of what God has to say to them -- not of our own thoughts," the cardinal said.

The kingly function of the priesthood is "a pastoral kingship" in collaboration with the local bishop, the cardinal said.

Authority in the priesthood "is given for service," he stressed, and priests are called to "speak the truth to their community with faith and with love."

Cardinal Dulles told the seminarians and faculty that "none of us measures up to the demands of the priesthood, but we are called to do the best that we can." There may be others "who could do the work better but we are the ones who answered the call," he observed. "We are the ones who responded." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Jesuit Theologian Criticized by Vatican Wrote Interreligious Guidelines

Jesuit theologian Fr Jacques Dupuis, whose book on non-Christian religions drew Vatican doctrinal congregation criticism, was a main behind-the-scenes architect of current Vatican interreligious dialogue guidelines, originally published in 1991.

Speaking at Gregorian University April 5, Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said Fr Dupuis was a member of the drafting committee for the Vatican document, "Dialogue and Proclamation." Bishop Fitzgerald also said the church owed Fr Dupuis a "debt of gratitude for his pioneering work" in trying to make theological sense of religious plurality.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a notification in February warning that, while Fr Dupuis' intentions were good, his 1997 book, "Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism," contained ambiguous statements and insufficient explanations that could lead readers to "erroneous or harmful conclusions" about Christ's role as the one and universal savior.

Similar concerns were raised during the drafting of the 1991 Vatican document, particularly by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, head of the evangelization congregation, Fr Dupuis said.

Fr Dupuis said the document originated with the interreligious council, but later involved the evangelization congregation, at Cardinal Tomko's insistence.

The Jesuit, who in 1998 retired from teaching theology at Gregorian University, said he authored the first draft of the dialogue guidelines, which were debated by a drafting committee of Vatican officials.

Fr Dupuis said his view was that the modern reality of religious pluralism required a heavier emphasis on dialogue. But others in the committee wanted very strong statements in favor of proclaiming Christ as the sole savior to other religious believers.

In the end, both points of view were reflected in the document. "In the document as it is now, there is some lack of complete harmony," he said.

Fr Dupuis said Cardinal Tomko was not entirely happy with the document's final draft and chose not attend the committee's concluding meeting to vote on the text. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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The Church and Global Climate Change

Basic common morality, as well as Catholic social teaching, would dictate that the United States make sacrifices for the sake of battling global climate change, said Fr Drew Christiansen SJ.

"Morality itself demands the United States make some conscious sacrifice for the sake of the planetary common good," said Fr Christiansen, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, at a conference on Global Climate Change.

President Bush recently said the United States would not support the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at reducing emissions believed to increase global warming. President Clinton signed onto the treaty, but it requires Senate ratification. The Senate voted 95-0 not to ratify it and Bush has said he thinks it does not serve US interests.

Drawing on the principles of Catholic social teaching, Fr Christiansen argued that the moral obligations of the United States to protect the common good outweigh the argument that, under the Kyoto Protocol, highly developed countries such as the United States would bear a disproportionate share of the burden for stopping global warming.

"The indifference of the rich nations to the poor reappears in attitudes toward global climate change -- and in no means solely with this administration," he said. "The disposition `to contribute widely and generously to the common good' has just not been there in the formulation of US policy."

Fr Christiansen noted that talk of sacrifice "is notoriously unfashionable." But Catholic social teaching is "unembarrassed by such appeals," he said, and stubbornly recognizes that adjusting to global climate problems can be achieved through a variety of means -- technological innovation, regulation, taxation, and other public policies.

But real sacrifice cannot be avoided, he said. "Let's be adults and make intelligent sacrifices," said Fr Christiansen. "Technology can help; even markets have a role. But let us not be spoiled children who believe we can lead our lives without sacrifice and indulge ourselves without limit."

Fr Christiansen said in the case of global climate change another principle of Catholic social teaching, a preferential option for the poor, would favor policies that attempt to mitigate greenhouse gases while assisting the poor to develop. It also would entail preventing the destructive impact of global warming on poor regions of the world, he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Jesuit Educators from Japan, El Salvador, Chile Share Insights at SLU

The symposium "Education and Service in the Jesuit Tradition: Responses to Culture and Context," at Saint Louis University featured panelists Gonzalo Arroyo SJ, vice president and professor of economic ethics for Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile; Mauricio Gaborit SJ, academic vice president for Universidad Centroamericana, in San Salvador, El Salvador; and David Wessels SJ, professor of political science for Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Fr Arroyo said he is inspired by the service of faith and promotion of justice through the Society of Jesus. He discussed the state of poverty in his country. Despite new opportunities in the country, he said poverty will not subside if people are not willing to pay the price for a more just and more humane society.

Fr Wessels focused on the cultural issues at his university, where a small percentage of the students are actually Catholic. Wessels believes clear dialogue is necessary for Jesuit education to thrive in Japanese culture.

"There is an aspect of the general cultural and Christian educational culture that have to be dialoguing all the time," he said.

Fr Gaborit, whose university has been interwoven with its country's political struggles, talked about the liberating Jesuit mission. "The unjust world murders those who expose it and want to transform it," he said. "El Salvador has a long experience of martyrdom, which already is part of its national identity. At UCA, we believe that the ultimate sense of being at the university does not reside in itself but rather in its incidence in society," he said. "From the beginnings, our university saw the center as being outside itself."

The symposium was a highlight of SLU’s inaugural Atlas Week, which emphasized the international aspects of the university. [Source: Saint Louis University]

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Who are the Most Senior Jesuits?

On March 31, Fr Antonio Ferrua, Province of Italy, joined the club of the three other centenarian Jesuits. Br José Conrat, of South Brazil , was born in 1899, four months before Br José Losada, of the Puerto Rico Independent Region. The other member of the club is Br Wilhelm Karl Wolters, of the South Brazil Province. There are four Jesuits over 100 years old, 311 in their 90's, 2035 in their 80's, and 4413 in their 70's. The average age of the Jesuits is 56.96 years. [Source: SJ Press and Information Office]

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Jesuit History: The Society in Russia

In answer to the request from the Vicar General of the Society in Russia and to the explicit wishes of czar Paul I, on March 7, 1801, Pope Pius VII signed the Breve "Catholicae fidei" by which he approved the existence of the Society of Jesus in the Russian Empire. This was an all-important step towards the Restoration of the Society in 1814.

The presence of Jesuits in the empire of the czars goes back to 1772 when Poland was divided for the first time and White Russia became part of the empire. The number of Jesuits grew to 201 living in 18 communities. Since Catherine the Great (1762-1796) did not allow the promulgation of the Society's suppression in her territory, the Jesuits' presence in White Russia was legitimate. This providential continuity was due not only to the intervention of Catherine but also to the tolerance, at first, and then to the pontifical approval of this anomalous situation.

Under the imperial auspices, the Society extended its apostolic activities to the south and east of the empire, along the Volga, the Dead Sea, the Caspian Sea, Caucasia, and Siberia. In 1800, the Jesuits were in the capital, Petersburg, where they opened a famous school. The residence of Father General was also located in the capital from 1802 to 1815. The presence of the Jesuits in White Russia guaranteed the continuity of the Society up to August 7, 1814, when Pius VII restored the Society of Jesus with the Bull "Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum." Only six years later, in 1820, Czar Alexander I expelled the Jesuits from the Russian territory. The expulsion decree was in force until 1992 when the Society returned officially to Russia. During the Soviet Union regime, a number of Jesuits remained in Russia (often in prison) and continued to work clandestinely, even recruiting new members for the Society.

On June 21, 1992, Father General decreed the erection of the Russian Independent Region, which on September 30 of the same year, obtained official recognition from the Russian government. In 1997 Russia adopted the principle of freedom of conscience and religion and the Jesuits had to apply once more for official registration. They obtained it on September 12, 2000. Presently, the Jesuits of the Russian Independent Region number 58 and they work in Moscow, Novosibirsk, and in some of the Republics that once belonged to the Soviet Union: Byelorussia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kirgizistan. [Source: SJ Press and Information Office]

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On the World Wide Web You Can Find ...

[St Francis Xavier]

A page devoted the St Francis Xavier can be found at: http://pweb.sophia.ac.jp/~d-mccoy/xavier/

[The Ratio Studiorum]

Boston College has launched a website for the Jesuit Ratio Studiorum, which features what is believed to be the only online version of the Ratio. The BC web site http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/ulib/digi/ratio/ratiohome.html has a digitized version of the English translation of the Ratio by Allan P Farrell SJ. The site also includes an essay on the historical significance of the Ratio, a bibliography of material relating to the Ratio Studiorum, and Jesuit education and links to related resources.

Called "the Magna Carta of Jesuit education," the Ratio was introduced by the Jesuits in 1599 as a needed curricular guide for their rapidly expanding network of schools. The Ratio laid out the organization of Jesuit institutions to the smallest detail, while establishing a uniform course of study over at least 13 years. [Source: Boston College]

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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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