Culture and Society

Mass at Farrn St
SERIOUS CHALLENGES face not only Catholicism but all Christian Churches this Shrovetide as we prepare for our Lenten renewal of the Church.We are living in a rapidly changing world in uncertain times politically, socially and culturally. And Christians and their Churches are changing with it, so much so that many Christians are beginning to question whether their Churches are in serious danger of losing not only their way, but losing their true denominational identity. Many Christians are...
South Africa's Finance Minster, Pravin Gordhan. Flickr
By Russell Pollitt SJ, Director of the Jesuit Institute South AfricaFinance Minister Pravin Gordhan made a strong call to conversion in his 2017 Budget Speech. Quoting Pope Francis he said, “Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart”. He went on to say, “We need to radically transform our economy so that we have a more diversified economy, with more jobs and inclusivity in ownership and participation”....
Hands holding a light bulb lit up
Sometimes, you only find out what you have when you meet someone who hasn’t got it.When I was working in South America, I had a friend who worked in the electricity company. It’s called ‘Guyana Power and Light’. And he was in charge of what they called the “Rural Electrification Project”. That meant that it was his job to bring power and light to villages which had never had it before. He told me that it was the best job he had ever done.Wherever he went, he...
Refugees Welcome, printed on concrete
Welcome the needyCan our world ever have been more divided than now? In the lifetimes of many of us, we have not known such pain and division. An ugly licence to hate and to exclude is in the air; attitudes and behaviours that are usually, by common consent, unacceptable have been unleashed. It has shockingly become quite alright to despise the other, to embrace selfishness and to act with indifference towards those who come, in need, to us and to our countries. Narrow nationalist populism,...
Join the Pope in prayer every day throughout 2017
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network has been growing and developing in many innovative ways over the past year. The ministry itself continues the work, of many decades, of the Apostleship of Prayer; but there’s a new name, a new energy and new methods of presenting the message. This does not mean that the previous work has been replaced, but developed, not least in the light of so much change and innovation in the world around us.The Second Vatican Council (1962-65)...
A composite image of Thomas More and Edmund Campion SJ  facing each other
The Martin Scorcese film Silence now on general release. It highlights a time in the Church’s life in Japan when many Christians were martyred for their Christian faith. Jesuit priests and Catholic men and women were tortured in the hope that they would deny their faith in Christ and in His Body, the Church. It might seem very remote from our own time and experience and yet, today, we hear extraordinary stories of Christians in the Middle East, of Jesuits and Christian men and women,...
Older woman holds her head in her hands - by Christian Newman on unsplash
This Sunday is Christmas day, a day when, by long tradition, all over the world, Christians wake up happy – thankful for all of the good things they have been given in life. Not just the good things they have been given this morning, but all of the good things they have received from God’s hand throughout their lives. And thankful most especially for the people they have been given to love and people who have been given to love them. This is a day for rejoicing in all that God has...
Andrew Garfield with Ben
In November 2014, I was putting my cereal bowl on the trolley at the end of the (silent) breakfast at St Beuno’s when Ben, the Assistant Chef, sidled up to me, inclined his head towards one of the retreatants and whispered, ‘Father Roger, is that Spiderman in the dining room?’  ‘Don’t tell anyone, Ben!’ was the reply. Andrew Garfield, the star of two Spiderman films, supporting actor in ‘The Social Network’ and the lead in Scorsese...
Two hands holding scrabble letters that spell forever: Photo by Gabby Orrcutt
“Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.”Do you believe in love at first sight?When I was at college I had a friend called Mark. And, one evening, we went out to dinner with a group of other students. At the dinner he met a young lady called Laura and they seemed to get on very well together. And, as we walked home, he told me that he had fallen in love with her. This was the woman for him, there would be no other. They would get married, live...
Closing session of GC36
And unexpectedly, it is over.All votes are cast. All documents written. All jobs that were complete-able are complete. We suddenly find ourselves on the last day, with a last Mass this evening and tonight the goodbyes will begin.We only knew it yesterday.It is slightly unreal. I will see some of the Jesuits from the Aula next week in London; some I will never see again. We are pilgrims on the road, creating community as we travel, breaking and re-creating communities at the next cross-roads,...

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