Category: Italy

War Is Irrational And Inhuman

An official from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Tommaso Di Ruzza, told the Conference participants that disarmament is an ethical question that involves everyone, not just governments. Though each person must cooperate according to his role and responsibilities, the Vatican aide encouraged the faithful to work for peace, in a world where arms expenditures in 2008 were almost $1.5 billion, and where there are some 16 to 20 medium- to high-intensity conflicts ongoing around the globe. Bishop Giovanni Giudici of Pavia, president of Pax Christi-Italy, cited Pope John XXIII in affirming the basic tenet of the situation: “War goes against reason and against humanity.” And, as the Holy See constantly encourages, disarmament is fundamental, he recalled. The Holy See, in fact, will take up its exhortation again at the conference for the revision of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will be held in New York next May. This effort, Bishop Giudici observed, goes beyond a fight to eliminate nuclear and chemical weapons. “There must be another strong ‘no’ to conventional and light arms,” he contended, due to the large number of people killed with these weapons. What the Italian Episcopal Conference, Caritas-Italy and Pax Christi proposed, ultimately, is a serious reflection on Christian nonviolence: not a giving in to evil – according to a false interpretation of ‘turning the other cheek’ – but rather responding to evil with good. Conference contributors called for rejecting the logic of armament, and choosing nonviolence as a social and political project. A spirit of reconciliation can have concrete consequences in, for example, investing or banking only with institutions that do not benefit from the arms trade. Pastors, too, must become involved in a spirit of peace, the Conference contributors asserted. They suggested dedicating resources and time to the elaboration of precise educational itineraries that give space to the witness of prophets of nonviolence, and invigorating Justice and Peace Commissions at the national, diocesan and local levels. “Peace is the new martyrdom to which the Church is called today,” Bishop Giudici reflected. “The arena of the trial is the scene of the global village that runs the risk of burning in a holocaust without precedents. And as in the early times of Christianity, the martyrs astounded the world with their courage, so today the Church should silence the powerful of the earth with the pride with which, despite persecution, she proclaims – without toning down gradually as in Gregorian chant – the Gospel of peace and the practice of nonviolence. It is clear that, if instead of silencing the powerful, she is silent, she would be a resigned accomplice to an atrocious ‘war crime.’”  

Soccer Was Invented By Paraguayan Indians

In an article titled, “The Guarani Invented Soccer,” reporter Gianpaolo Romanato asserted that soccer was born in the 17th century in the region known today as Paraguay. His source for the claim is an account by a Spanish Jesuit priest, Jose Manuel Peramas, who lived for several years at the St. Ignatius of Mini mission, south of Asuncion, which was one of the 30 native missions established by the Jesuits in colonial Paraguay. Father Peramas described the pastimes enjoyed by the Guarani in his 1793 book, “De vita et moribus tredecim virorum paraguaycorum” (Of the life and death of the 13 men of Paraguay). “They often played with a ball that, although it was made completely of rubber, was so light and quick that instead of them hitting it, it bounced around without stopping, driven by its own weight. They did not throw the ball with their hands like we do, but rather they kicked it with the upper part of their bare feet, passing it and trapping it with great agility and precision,” the priest wrote. “Three centuries ago, the Guarani were surely masters of the ball. They are truly the descendents of the real inventors of soccer,” L’Osservatore Romano reported, although many British soccer enthusiasts would be quick to dispute such a claim.  

Ricci Is Model For Dialogue And Mission In Globalized World

Father Tsang was born in mainland China to a Catholic family, “but I escaped by swimming to Hong Kong – four hours to Hong Kong, at night – and then went to the States.” The priest, who now teaches at Fu Jen Catholic University of Taiwan, attended the conference marking the 400th anniversary of Father Ricci’s death. Father Ricci, who was born in 1552 and arrived in China at the age of 30, delved into studies of the Chinese language, culture and Confucianism. His respect for the Chinese gradually paved the way for his dialogue with China’s government and cultural leaders. At the same time, “he was very frank and strict, explicit and direct on the goodness of the Christian faith,” Father Tsang said, and “he did not hesitate to point out the defects of Taoism and Buddhism.” While Father Ricci found great fault with what he understood about Taoism and Buddhism, he believed that Confucianism, in its purest form, was a philosophy open to Christianity. After his death, missionaries developed the so-called “Chinese rites” – Confucian-based social rituals involving ancestor veneration and offerings to the emperor – which allowed Chinese converts to preserve elements of their heritage while being Catholic. Centuries of controversy ensued and although the rites developed after Father Ricci’s death, he was so strongly identified with that disputed form of inculturation that his sainthood cause was not opened until the 1980s. Father Tsang said it was unfortunate that the controversy led some to question Father Ricci’s holiness. It is true, he said, that Father Ricci “was very friendly with the Chinese, respecting the Chinese culture, but in terms of the faith, he was very unabashedly Catholic.” In his speech at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, Father Tsang said Father Ricci was not so “narrow-minded as to regard non-Christian cultures or religions as nothing good; indeed, he saw quite a lot of compatibility between early Confucianism and Christianity,” and recognized that Confucian teachings could be seen as preparing the Chinese to receive the Gospel. Father Ricci’s respect for the Chinese and his commitment to sharing the Gospel with them offer the still-relevant lesson that Christians cannot claim God is at work only among Christians but, at the same time, they cannot claim that all religions are equally valid paths to salvation, Father Tsang said. According to him, the Chinese today need the Gospel just as much as they did in Father Ricci’s age. The country is enjoying economic prosperity, but “there are grave, hidden problems,” including the repression of human rights, a growing divide between rich and poor, widespread use of abortion and “alarming pollution.”   

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