Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

August 12, 2004

Jesuit Curia Recognizes Email!

On June 21, Father General addressed to all the major superiors of the Society in a letter titled Reminders and Updates on Procedures. Its aim was to clarify some points and to indicate ways to facilitate the solution of canonical problems related to the Holy See. What was most interesting was that, for the first time, the letter of Father General was signed electronically. The Secretariat of the Society has announced that from now on the circular letters issued by the Curia will be sent only by electronic mail.


Fidel Castro Contacts the US (A few years ago!)

On paper with letterhead of the Colegio Dolores, Apartado 1, Santiago de Cuba, a school of the Society of Jesus, a noted addressed to President Franklin Roosevelt was penned by a 12-year-old boy on November 27, 1940. It is written in friendly style ("Mr. good friend Roosevelt"), in clear but fractured English ("I don't know very English"), and ends by asking the president to slip into his reply a $10 banknote because he has never seen one. The name of the boy was Fidel Castro. There is no evidence he ever received a reply. [Source: SJ Press Office]


The Vatican and the Jews

In September, the Vatican Secret Archives will publish two volumes containing part of the documents that were kept at the Information Office set up in 1,939 by Pius XII with the aim of locating persons who had disappeared during World War II. From the four corners of the world, parents and wives sent the Vatican more than 10 million requests, which a group of about 100 persons -- under the guidance of Cardinal Montini, the future Paul VI -- classified and circulated. The activity of Vatican Radio was an indispensable part of the operation to collect and diffuse through 70 weekly broadcasts the information channelled from the Vatican. Between 1940 and 1946 the Vatican Radio transmitted a total of 1,240,728 messages.


Laugh! God is Listening

While faith is not a laughing matter, a healthy Christian is able to laugh, according to Fr Luciano Larivera SJ in an article in the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica. He said a healthy and mature sense of humor consists in a person's ability to see the absurdity present in his or her own life and to be somewhat detached from it.

The ability to laugh at oneself, he said, coincides with the Christian virtue of humility and with an awareness that, while the religious life involves striving to do God's will, God surpasses all human understanding.

Fr Larivera cited a study by a Belgian psychologist demonstrating that people who have a tendency toward religious fundamentalism "tend to avoid humor" because it "undermines their sense of security" and their impression that being always faithful means being always serious.

On the other hand, he said, Thomas Aquinas made it clear that, while it was not appropriate for Christians to act like buffoons, "virtue consists in knowing how to distance oneself, how to play and to laugh." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


JRS Calls on Sudan to Disarm Arab Militias

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) urged Sudan to comply with a UN resolution to disarm Arab militias blamed for thousands of deaths in the country's western Darfur region. JRS also called on the Sudanese government to allow humanitarian aid workers into Darfur to assist the 1.2 million people displaced by the violence and to not force displaced persons back to their homes and villages until security is guaranteed.

JRS said the United Nations should be ready to send in an "international protection force" to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid and to monitor the human rights situation and called on aid agencies to mobilize quickly in responding to the crisis.

At least 30,000 people, mostly black African farmers, have been killed in Darfur; 2.2 million people are in urgent need of aid, with many likely to die of disease or hunger in refugee camps in Sudan and Chad, humanitarian aid agencies have warned. Some 200,000 refugees have fled into neighboring Chad.

"Aid agencies operating in Chad, including Jesuit Refugee Service, report that in some of the camps refugees are receiving only one-quarter of the minimum daily ration of water needed and subsist virtually without shelter or the most rudimentary sanitation, in temperatures that can easily reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit," the JRS statement said.

JRS started working in Chad in July, with about six people working through the local Caritas organization, said Mitzi Schroeder, JRS policy director. The agency has set up schools and social service projects, she said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Does Latin American Church Lags in Responding to AIDS?

Fr Hernan Quezada SJ, director of the AIDS and immigration program at Iberoamerican University in Puebla, Mexico, said the church in the region is just now waking up to AIDS. He said the Mexican bishops' conference began a new focus on the disease earlier this year.

"We're beginning to see a movement to deal with AIDS within some sectors of the church, but we also need to fight our tendency toward paternalism," Fr Quezada said. "We need to see AIDS as a social problem that calls us to be prophets, to change structures, while at the same time being in solidarity with the people who are living with the virus."

"In 2003, heterosexuals comprised 54 percent of new HIV infections in Mexico, and a majority of those are women," Fr Quezada said. "And many of those affected are rural residents. We've focused so much attention on AIDS in the cities that we've missed the 'ruralization' of the disease in the interior of the country, where the incidence of infection in women is much higher than in urban areas." The priest said that in Mexico, the Church must fight this image of AIDS being a gay problem.

"There are no education or prevention programs focused on peasants, youth, or housewives. It has all been focused on the gay community," Fr Quezada said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Ignatian Solidarity Network Set to Begin this September

The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN), which was approved by the ten Jesuit provincials in February 2004, is a new network that will bring together Jesuits and lay people and build on the tradition of Jesuit-inspired solidarity on issues such as hunger, Central America, and sweatshops to create new opportunities for collaboration among universities, high schools, parishes, retreat houses, and social ministries.

The ISN's purpose is to facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of existing social justice and advocacy efforts by creating better communication among them as well as more consistent and improved resourcing of these efforts, both across and within various institutions.

In the first three years, the ISN will create an electronic network to link groups, share ideas, and disseminate information. The network will also work to help generate more participation at the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In, as well as use its communications infrastructure to support local grassroots social justice campaigns and connect local organizations that may be working on similar issues. Finally, the ISN will share educational and spirituality resources on social justice and Catholic social teaching. [Source: Detroit Province Clarion] Up

On the Web

Company Magazine Photo Contest
Every two years Company Magazine invites photographers to submit photos that capture the Ignatian spirit and ethos. We invite you and your friends to visit view this year's winners on Company's web site. The Company web site posts web versions of its articles. If you know of someone who is on the web, but who does not currently get Company Magazine, you might let them know about our site. is the general address. Drop by; tell your friends.

Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editors

JesuitUSA News is brought to you by Company Magazine. The newsletter is free and available to all interested persons. Spread the word. Persons can subscribe to the Newsletter in one of several ways: (1) go to , (2) send an email message to [email protected]?subject=subscribe , or (3) send an email message to [email protected] . Once subscribed you can manage your own subscription -- delete yourself, indicate that you will be "out of the office" for some specific period of time, or change your email address by using the same Web address.

Other correspondence, especially comments, suggestions, complaints, or queries, should be sent to <[email protected]>. Please include your name and your email address in all correspondence. The editors of this Newsletter are Richard VandeVelde SJ and Ms Rebecca Troha. They recommend the following useful WWW links as items of Jesuit interest.



Valid XHTML 1.0!