Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

March 05, 2005

Jesuits Continue with Tsunami Relief

Sri Lanka

As the second month after the tsunami draws to a close, Fr Prakash Louis SJ, consultant to the Jesuit Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Board of Sri Lanka, reflected on the long-term implications of the disaster. He said that in confronting this tragic situation the Jesuit response needs to strive for singleness of purpose and be channeled as much as possible through local groups and institutions.

Perhaps most importantly, Jesuits have to realize that if they want “to address the requirements of the really needy, the marginalized … it is necessary to be engaged in a serious manner. This calls for a commitment which is long-standing and demanding,” one that is “concretely expressed by engaging or allotting more personnel, finance, time, and energy to this work, he said.


In Tamil Nadu the work of the Jesuits continues under the coordination of the Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Committee and through the three zonal offices that have been at work. Legal aid and counsel play an important role in the committee’s strategies: teams of lawyers under the leadership of Jesuit lawyers have been working towards ensuring the legal entitlements of those affected by the tsunami.

Individual Jesuits have been playing key roles in non-Jesuit forums, coordinating and facilitating. Maria Augustine SJ has been instrumental in mobilizing the personnel and financial resources of the various religious congregations for the tsunami-affected, and Joseph Xavier SJ has succeeded in involving the social work departments of colleges in Tamil Nadu, under the guidance of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and mobilizing about 1300 students for the task of counselling and data collection.


In Indonesia, the Jesuit Refugee Service continues to play a key role in the reconstruction process. To read detailed accounts and updates of JRS activities in Northern Sumatra, go to: [Source: Headlines]


Santa Clara University Students Examine Differences Between Real Love & Romance

By the time students finish taking Santa Clara University's theology of marriage class, the professors are pretty sure they will be able to tell the difference between romantic notions of love and the real thing.

"We break down the 'knight in shining armor' idea that there is one person just for you," said Frederick Parrella, a religious studies professor at the university who has been teaching the marriage course, which constantly has a waiting list, for more than 15 years. "We're all made in God's image," the theologian stressed, adding that based on that idea, there is not necessarily one soul mate out there for everyone.

Finding the right person for a committed relationship involves meeting people, making the right decisions, and not just going by feelings, which are bound to go away, he said.

In the span of the 10-week course, Parrella juxtaposes current books and movies that deal with love with deeper theological writings that delve into marriage as a sacrament and a reflection of God's love.

Over the 40 years the course has been offered at the university, Parrella said, it has evolved. But one thing that has been a constant is the notion of committed love. He hopes his students leave the course with a deeper sense of what that is. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


JRS Invites All Former Staff to Mark its 25th Anniversary

By November 2005 Jesuit Refugee Service International will have provided services for and learned from refugees for 25 years.

Throughout this year JRS plans to hold meetings on spirituality and advocacy and publish books on education and on the history of JRS.

All those who have worked or volunteered for JRS in the past and who have lost contact with the organization are invited to contact Ms Hilda Serrano either by telephone 0039 06 6897 7386, email: [email protected] or by post to Borgo S. Spirito 4, 00193 Roma, Italy. JRS would love to invite you to many of the events that will be taking place all over the world throughout the year. [Source: JRS Dispatches]


US Theological Society Distressed at Vatican Action on Jesuit Theologian

The board of directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) has expressed "profound distress" at the Vatican action condemning a book by Jesuit Fr Roger Haight and banning him from teaching Catholic theology.

"Fr Haight's book Jesus Symbol of God has done a great service in framing crucial questions that need to be addressed today," read the board’s statement. It said the book, sharply criticized for doctrinal errors in a notification issued February 7 by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has provoked the kind of debate and criticism within the theological community that is encouraged by the Church's teaching authority.

"Ironically, rather than promote greater criticism of the book, the congregation's intervention will most likely discourage debates over the book, effectively stifling further criticism and undermining our ability as Catholic theologians to openly critique our colleagues," the board said.

The CTSA board did not deny there were errors in the book's theology.

Roberto S Goizueta, CTSA president and a theology professor at Boston College who is on sabbatical in Spain, said that he viewed the doctrinal congregation's notification as blurring the line between theology and catechetics. "What they're trying to do is get him to restate the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church,'" he said. "That's not what theology is. Theology is about creative exploration of revelation and the doctrine of the church."

The book "is an exploration, and Fr Haight doesn't pretend anything else," he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Dulles: Council of Trent Teaching on Real Presence Remains the Norm

Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles said in a lecture February 15 at the seminary of the Archdiocese of New York that the 1551 teaching of the Council of Trent on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist "remains today as normative as ever." The council described the presence with three adverbs—"truly, really, and substantially"—that are "the keys that open the door to Catholic teaching and exclude contrary views," he said.

Noting the misconceptions of some Christians and the "minimizing errors" of others, he said that "the fathers and doctors of the Church have confidently proclaimed the real presence century after century."

Cardinal Dulles said the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist should not be interpreted in "too materialistic a way, without sufficiently distinguishing between his natural and his sacramental presence." He said Christ is not present in the sense his head might be found in one part of the bread or wine and his feet another, but in the way the soul is "entirely present in the whole and in every part" of the human body.

"Real" means that the presence is objective, something brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit and recognized by those who have faith but not produced by their faith, he said.

While Christ is present in the other sacraments, the Eucharist "may be adored" because there his presence is substantial, the cardinal said. "It is the greatest of all sacraments." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Brief Items from Jesuit Institutions:

Arrupe Jesuit High is Recognized for Minority Progress

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognized Arrupe Jesuit High in Denver as one of five US high schools showing progress in preparing minority students for college and jobs. The school is based on the Cristo Rey model, in which students work one day a week in an entry-level corporate job, which covers a major portion of tuition. A summary of the study, "Rethinking High School: Five Profiles of Innovative Models for Student Success," is at

Jesuit High Schools Hold Annual Food Drives

December marked the 35th annual food drive at Jesuit High in Portland, Oregon. At the first drive in 1969, over $350 was raised and 40 families benefitted from the project; this year's goal was to raise about $16,000 and feed 415 families. Jesuit High in Sacramento also held its annual food drive in December, when approximately 85 students, faculty, and alumni delivered 61,000 pounds of food to those in need.

Boston College's Inaugural Canisius Lecture

Cardinal Theodore E McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, discussed the intersection of faith and public service at the inaugural Canisius Lecture at Boston College on March 3. His lecture, sponsored by the university's Jesuit Institute, addressed "The Call to Serve in a Divided Society." While each year will have a different focus, Fr T Frank Kennedy SJ, director of BC's Jesuit Institute, noted, "we want the Canisius Lecture to address an important Catholic, Jesuit issue in contemporary culture."

Creighton Prep Alum Wins Academy Award

Creighton Prep alum Alexander Payne '79 received an Oscar, along with Jim Taylor, for best adapted screenplay for the film Sideways on February 27. Payne also received a nomination for direction; in all, Sideways received five Academy Award nominations, including best picture.

St Louis University High Students Achieve Top Score on ACT Exam

Joel Westwood has become the second student at St Louis University High School to achieve the top score on the ACT Assessment this school year. Westwood, a junior, earned the top score of 36 on the ACT exam in February, following senior Paul Barker's accomplishment during the September 2004 test.

The American College of Testing, the organization that administers the exam, has not yet released the statistics for the February test date, but typically fewer than 50 students nationwide achieve the top score on any test date. [Sources: Denver Post, JSEA Bulletin, Boston College, Creighton Prep, St Louis University High]

Tom Krettek, SJ

Wisconsin Names Fr Tom Krettek SJ as Next Provincial

Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach has named Fr G Thomas Krettek SJ the next provincial of the Wisconsin Province. He succeeds Fr James Grummer SJ. Fr Krettek will be installed as new provincial in early June.

Fr Krettek has previously served on the philosophy faculty and as director of the Jesuit Humanities Program at Creighton University and as philosophy professor and rector at Marquette University. [Source: Wisconsin Province]


Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editors

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