April 6, 2004
In an open letter to US President George W Bush, JRS USA Director Ken Gavin SJ expressed his disappointment with the president's statement of February 25, regarding the US policy of interdiction for refugees from Haiti.
Fr Gavin wrote that the US government's intention to turn back any Haitian refugee that attempts to reach the United States is in clear violation of the basic principles of refugee protection embodied in the Refugee Convention and other international legal norms.
Fr Gavin stated that "to maintain such a policy in the face of the present crisis in Haiti is unworthy of the great humanitarian traditions of the United States and that it sets a lamentable precedent for other nations and will not, I believe, serve the United States' long-term national interest." He further urged the United States to work with the other nations of the region, especially the Dominican Republic, to ensure that proper protection is provided throughout the region. [Source: JRS Dispatches]
Fr Drew Christiansen SJ, an associate editor of America magazine, told an interfaith audience in New York that the struggle to define the meaning of "just war" was continuing inside and outside the Catholic Church.
Fr Christiansen said debate in the Catholic Church was "between strict and permissive just-war thinkers."
While the permissive school argues that only a just cause is required for approval of war, the strict school "demands a traditional set of criteria," including the requirements of "last resort, proportionality, prospect of success, and relative justice," he said.
He said that rejecting such common-sense standards as "acceptable damage and the prospect of success" could only be "symptomatic of minds set on making war, come what may.
"Official Catholic teaching, by contrast, preserves the prudential norms as tests of the morality of war, even when the cause seems just," he said.
Fr Christiansen said Pope John Paul II made it clear in his message for the World Day of Peace in 2002 that "defense against aggression included the defense against terrorism."
In practice, this doctrine seemed to mean approval of the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, but not against Iraq, he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
Two Australian Jesuits, Frs Ian Dillon and Norbert Olsen, are providing spiritual guidance online at http://www.pray.com.au, an interactive website developed by Fr Michael Kelly SJ and his organization, Church Resources.
By clicking on the icon inviting spiritual guidance, anyone can raise an issue or ask for help and Frs Dillon and Olsen will reply.
Other features of the site include daily reflections, guided prayer formats for classroom use, a selection of articles on spirituality topics from around the world, and the option of subscribing and receiving all the material via e-mail each day. [Source: Jesuits in Australia]
Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles, delivering the annual spring lecture of his McGinley professorship at Fordham University, called for "a rebirth of apologetics," the defense of Christian faith by reason, because "the time is ripe, the need is urgent."
But he called for an apologetics centered on "the living testimony of believers" rather than the traditional arguments from philosophy and historical science, one focused not on the traditional question of "how we get to God" but "how God comes to us."
"The apologetics of personal testimony is particularly suited to the genius of Catholicism," he said. "Such testimony invites us not only to individual conversion but to communion with the whole body of believers."
Cardinal Dulles said Pope John Paul II had given "timely leadership" in offering the approach of personalism, basing belief in the existence of God not on the traditional arguments but on "the aspirations of the human heart for communion with the divine."
Cardinal Dulles said that in calling for a new evangelization the pope declared that "the world today looks not so much for arguments as for witnesses" who could inspire trust.
"This emphasis on personal trust, I believe, holds great promise for the renewal of apologetics," the cardinal said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
You can see the video from this lecture at http://www.fordhamfrc.org/videos.shtml Click on The Rebirth of Apologetics link to watch.
Br Guy Consolmagno, a US Jesuit and an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, has been chosen to be part of a five-man team of international astronomers to decide if Sedna--the most distant object yet seen orbiting the sun--is really a planet.
The new body currently lies some 8 billion miles away from the sun, "almost twice as far away as anything else in the solar system," said Br Consolmagno.
But, because it is such a recent discovery and because it is so far away, scientists are not yet sure how to classify the far-flung new world.
"There was no working group on planets because no new planet has been discovered for the past 70 years, and there is no working definition of what a planet is, either," Br Consolmagno said.
The International Astronomical Union--a world body made up of about 100 member nations, including the Vatican--set up the working group to decide on an official definition of a planet. The union also will decide whether Sedna--named after the Inuit goddess of the Arctic Sea--can join the solar system's planetary club.
"We're interested in working out a consensus and finding a definition that will be useful for people who actually study planets," Br Consolmagno said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
When Fr H Cornell Bradley SJ saw Oklahoma State's John Lucas drill a three-point basket with 6.9 seconds left March 27, he thought, "Ye gods."
The move during the NCAA men's basketball tournament put Oklahoma State ahead 64-62 against Saint Joseph's University, where Fr Bradley is chaplain to the men's basketball team.
When Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson missed a game-tying shot with three seconds left in the game, the Hawks' fate was sealed.
The Hawks' amazing 2003-04 season--they were undefeated in their regular schedule and Nelson was featured on the cover of "Sports Illustrated"--made the team from the small Jesuit university an NCAA contender. But all that seemed like ancient history when confronted with the loss to Oklahoma State, which kept Saint Joseph's out of the tournament's Final Four.
"I saw Jameer sit down on the court [after the game]. I knew how hard it was going to be for him," Fr Bradley said.
As for himself, "I am so emotionally exhausted right now, I couldn't write my own obituary," he said. Fr Bradley travels with the team and saw them reach the incredible peak of a 27-0 regular season. He also saw the team stunned by a 20-point loss to another Jesuit university, Xavier, in the first round of the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament, which came just before NCAA's "March Madness."
"The great thing about this team and the coach is that this team really considers itself as a team. This team has jelled together," he said.
"Jameer Nelson, of course, is the star, but he would be the first to tell you he couldn't have done it without Delonte West or Tyrone Barley," he added. "The best thing about this team is the team." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
The Conference of European Jesuit Provincials is inviting filmmakers born in 1970 or later to submit short film entries, which will be shown during the World Youth Days in Germany next year.
Fr Mark Rotsaert SJ, the president of the Conference of European Provincials, said he was delighted that the Society was supporting young filmmakers and that the theme of the 2005 competition would be City of God.
"The films should reflect the spiritual yearnings and experiences of young people today, using the medium of film," said Fr Rotsaert. "For example, we will welcome submissions that show the presence and absence of God in our modern secularized world ... films should aim to take into account the twin social dimensions of faith and justice."
An I�igo Award will be given to the three best short films. The prize-winning films, along with other outstanding entries in the competition, will be screened at the World Youth Days in Cologne, Germany, in the summer of 2005.
More information and an application form are available at: http://www.inigo-award.org [Source: http://www.jesuits-europe.org]
Hosted and maintained by Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley History Online, Silicon Valley's largest and first multi-institutional history website, debuted on March 25.
The project includes photographs, postcards, manuscripts, and other materials related to the history of Santa Clara County, and collectively the images will explore the themes of cultural diversity, immigration, agriculture, commerce, education, technology, transportation, and urban life. It will include extensive images from the Santa Clara University archives.
The initial pages of the website can be viewed at http://www.siliconvalleyhistory.org [Source: Santa Clara University]
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