Page 1

The TORCH

BOSTON COLLEGE’S CATHOLIC NEWSPAPER ESTABLISHED 2013

Go set the world aflame! Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Volume I, Issue 7

Archbishop Tobin Reflects on the Church as Communion ALLISON R. SHELY On Monday, March 24, the Church in the 21st Century Center hosted Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis in the Heights Room as part of its “Our Episcopal Visitor” series. This lecture series seeks to invite one or two bishops to campus each year for Boston College to share its way of living out its Jesuit mission and to learn from the bishops how it can be of greater service to the Church. Archbishop Tobin, whose father played on the BC football team in the 1940s while a student here, met with Father Leahy and members of the theology department. His day concluded with this talk, entitled “Church-Communion: Roles in Relationship,” in keeping with C21’s spring theme of “Intimacy and Relationships.” Archbishop Tobin, a Redemptorist, was ordained in 1978. In 1997 and 2003, he was elected Superior General of his order. In 2010, he was made Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He lived overseas for nearly 20 years as part of these roles, returning to the United States following his appointment as Archbishop of Indianapolis in 2012. Upon his return,

Continued on Page 3

MA Bishops Push for a Just Minimum Wage Increase GJERGJI EVANGJELI The Bishops of Massachusetts released a statement on March 19th that highlighted the necessity of the State legislature to carefully consider the struggles of workers who are earning minimum wage. This statement from the College of Bishops of Massachusetts comes at the same time that as many as three different pieces of legislation are being entertained by the State Government. The Senate recently passed a bill increasing the minimum wage to $11 by 2016 and another overhauling the unemployment insurance system. The House is introducing another piece of legislation that seeks to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 by 2016. House Speaker Robert DeLeo said on Thursday that he hopes the finalized House bill will take into consideration the increased burden that such a hike would take on business owners and argued that this measure could be passed only in conjunction with reform in the unemployment insurance sector and that he hoped to combine the two bills from the Senate into a single system. As it sits now, the House bill would increase the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour by 2016 and tie it to the Consumer Price Index, which

would increase the minimum wage by the same percentage as inflation every year. An added provision of the bill would be that the state minimum wage always be at least $0.50 higher than the national minimum wage. If this bill is approved, Massachusetts would be the state with the highest minimum wage, beating California, who passed a bill recently increasing their minimum wage to $10. There have, however, been talks about tabling the issue until January 2015, an idea that both Speaker DeLeo and the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts seem to be against. A third option would be to put the question of increasing minimum wage in the ballots for the November state elections. The labor-backed group Raise up Massachusetts is currently pushing for a measure to increase the state minimum wage to $10.50 by 2015 to be put in the ballots, which seems like a reaction to the current stagnation in the House floor in terms of progress over the passing of the bill. The Catholic Bishops did not take a stance on how much the minimum wage should be increased or by when it should be done, rather admitting that they do not have the economic

know-how to put forth such qualifications, choosing instead to adjure the proper experts to come to a fair and speedy decision on this matter. They also cautioned for a careful look at the effect that the hike in minimum wage would have on the small business owners who do not have the same means to cover for the increase in cost over the coming years. Nonetheless, they stressed that the current minimum wage of $8.50 per hour is insufficient for most people to have sufficient means in today’s economy. They pointed out that “Insufficient compensation for labor violates the dignity of the worker and that worker’s family. A just wage supports the individual, families, and society as a whole.” They tied their message to Pope Francis’ words that economic policies should take the concern of human dignity and the common good as central. The statement was signed by Archbishop O’Malley of Boston, Bishop Coleman of Fall River, Bishop McDonnell of Springfield, and Bishop McManus of Worchester.

Inside this Edition

CAMPUS NEWS

WORLD NEWS

SENIOR STAFF

Impact of Jesuit Ideals

Syrian Nuns Released

Coming Clean for Lent

PAGE 3

PAGE 7

PAGE 13

Joy Moore: Positive


2

Campus News

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

CAMPUS NEWS

Within the Confines of the Truth: Ex Corde Ecclesiae & the Future of Catholic Higher Education MARGO BORDERS On March 18th, Chris Canniff, A&S ’14 and editor-in-chief of The Torch, gave an address to the UGBC student assembly about Catholic higher education, presenting his ideas about how to stay committed to and promote the Catholic mission on the BC campus. Canniff began by referencing the article by Nicholas Hahn that inspired his talk. Hahn talks about Pope Francis’ recent address to the Board of Trustees at Notre Dame. This address led Hahn to conclude that something is awry in Catholic higher education in the United States and that schools need to refocus on their commitment to educating with a Catholic mission. Canniff mentioned the controversial action of Notre Dame by hosting President Obama as their 2009 commencement speaker in light of the president’s advocacy of abortion rights. This caused a great uproar. Ironically, Notre Dame is currently pursuing legal action against the Obama administration in regards to the Health and Human Services mandate on contraception. Canniff compares the incident at Notre Dame to difficulties Boston College has in staying committed to its Catholic identity. Last spring, Boston College invited the Taoiseach of Ireland, Enda Kenny, to be our commencement speaker and to receive an honorary doctorate. Because of his controversial advocacy for a lessening of abortion regulations, among other negative relations with the Catholic Church and Ireland, Cardinal Sean O’Malley refused to attend the commencement and give the expected blessing. Canniff argued that such a momentous occasion for Boston College in its sesquicentennial celebration should not have been marked with a contentious and controversial speaker. Although Kenny did not touch on these issues in his address, the Catholic mission of Boston College should have been evident in the person giving the final send-off to the class into the world. Instead, the person sending off the sesquicentennial class of Boston College publicly stood against that for which the Catholic Church and Boston College stands. With these examples in mind, Canniff proceeded to provide a background of the Church’s teachings on higher education and how a Catholic university should promote the mission of the Church. Since Vatican II, the Index of Forbidden Books, which restricted the books that could be freely discussed at Catholic schools, has been abolished. Another result com-

ing from Vatican II was the Land O’Lakes Conference. From this conference came the conclusion that the Catholic university should have “true autonomy and academic freedom” and that “the intellectual campus of a Catholic university has no boundaries and no barriers.” Canniff argues that although the document attempts to emphasize the Catholic nature of the institution, it is “naïve optimism” to believe that people will continue to act in accordance to Catholic mission once complete freedom has been given. Coming out of this conference, Jesuit colleges and universities decided to cut official ties with the Church by appointing an independent board of trustees. Next, Canniff introduced an Apostolic Constitution, Ex corde ecclesiae, by Pope John Paul II that responded to the “decline in commitment to Catholic values on the campuses of so many Catholic universities.” Pope John Paul II emphasizes the relationship between faith and reason, and says, “being both a University and Catholic, [the university] must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative.” John Paul stresses the idea that all actions of the University are to be in accord with its fundamental Catholic identity, which contradicts many ideas presented at Land O’Lakes. Canniff argued that the status quo at most Catholic universities are in accordance with the Land O’ Lakes agreement, although Ex corde ecclesiae has actual legal force within the Church. Canniff concluded by citing the New Evangelization, which Pope Francis has aligned with in the first year of his pontificate. Canniff summarizes this vision: “to show people the joy of living life in Christ, convert their hearts and minds, and in the end, they will freely commit themselves to living the Christian gospel.” He hopes this vision can be effective in the long run at Boston College and other Catholic college campuses across the country. “It is incumbent on each of us as part of this community to evaluate our commitment to the Catholic faith, to strive to live by it, to strive to act in accord with it, to strive to promote it, and finally to strive to build a culture here at BC that is predicated upon it,” Canniff concluded.

Christian Duty in Secular Society, According to Luther and Bonhoeffer TARA WENGRONOWITZ On Friday, March 21, the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, and the BC Libraries hosted a presentation of senior theses. Approximately twenty BC seniors set up posters displaying sophisticated outlines of their in-progress theses. Theology and classics double major in the class of 2014, Mark Hertenstein, presented an outline of his thesis entitled, “The Cross and Social Ethics: Luther and Bonhoeffer.” Hertenstein discusses the issues of Luther’s social ethics and how 20th Century Lutheran pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, developed the beliefs further. The six specific sections of the thesis are: Luther’s Social Ethics, The Problem of Lutheran Social Ethics, Luther’s Theological Project, Bonhoeffer’s Social Ethics, Historical Problems and Bonhoeffer’s Context, and Bonhoeffer’s Theological Project. Hertenstein specifically discusses the complex issue of Christian activity in secular society. In his thesis, Hertenstein focuses on Luther’s ideas of the human person, community, and natural law. The problem with Lutheran social ethics is that there is a division between Christian action within a Christian context and Christian action in the increasingly secular world. As a side note, Hertenstein addresses the problems with Luther’s works that are derived from his confusing language that makes correct interpretation a challenge. Bonhoeffer lived and taught during the time of Nazi Germany. During this period, a German Christian movement endorsed absolute obedience to the state by tying God’s will to the will of the government. Bonhoeffer was an outspoken advocate against the Nazi movement and was so threat-

ening to the Nazi regime that his eventual execution was demanded by Hitler himself. Bonhoeffer believed that a Christian must always act for his neighbor, even at the risk of personal guilt. He said that Christians can and should do anything in order to serve their neighbor, even if it means taking up the sword. Luther, too, allows for Christians to “take up the sword” responsibly, and exclusively, for others. However, he is cynical about human beings’ ability to act selflessly. Bonhoeffer, on the other hand, was more optimistic than Luther about the human ability to serve others generously. Bonhoeffer was able to modify Luther’s ideas using modern philosophical and theological developments. In Bonhoeffer’s belief, a Christian must act for the good of his neighbor if he is able; to not act is evil. Bonhoeffer argued that an absolute division between church and state resulted in a situation in which Christian people and the Christian Church were able to support Nazism. Hertenstein mentioned the present-day separation of church and state in America. His thesis is applicable to contemporary times in that Christians continue to struggle to behave in a Christian manner in secular society. Speaking out for what is morally right, even if it is in opposition to the law, is a challenge that Christians faced in Luther’s time, in Bonhoeffer’s time, and still today. At Boston College, a school of men and women for others, we must ask ourselves whether we serve our neighbors selflessly, or whether we are letting our Christian values waver in favor of an all-encompassing secular society.


Campus News

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

3

Joy Moore: Positive Impact of Jesuit Ideals ERIN ANDERSON On Tuesday, March 18, Agape Latte hosted their monthly event, which featured Boston College alumnus Joy Moore. Moore, who graduated from the Lynch School of Education in 1981 and afterwards went on to be Head Interim for The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, has returned to Boston College and currently works in the alumni office as Director of stewardship and donor relations. It was during her time in LA when Moore received the opportunity to be deputy head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in January 2007. After going through a long and arduous interview process, she signed a six-month contract to go to South Africa. Once Moore accepted the job offer, she found herself three weeks later in Henley-on-Kip, South Africa. Located on a new continent she knew little about, Moore called upon her faith to help. Although a great opportunity, Moore struggled with the difficult decision to leave her family and a secure job behind for six-months. However, Moore’s immense faith eased her worry and provided her with comfort that her family- husband Robert, son Christopher, 22, and daughter Amanda, 19- would operate fine without her presence. Thanks to Moore’s admirable faith, she was able follow the call that drew her to accept

the amazing opportunity in Africa. Moore said the Jesuit ideals that she acquired during her time at Boston College greatly impacted and eased her transition during this time. According to Moore, she believed more in herself because of the unique Jesuit influence. Ultimately, this Jesuit-instilled confidence set her on her path to do things she may not have otherwise done, such as applying and accepting the deputy head position. As it turned out, her six-month contract turned into a four-year adventure where Joy grew spiritually, personally, and professionally. As head interim, it was Moore’s responsibility to provide a smooth transition of the newly established institution into a boarding school for young women. Moore called upon her previous experience as head interim in Los Angeles, yet found school philosophy in Africa very different than American schools. This difference proved difficult for both Moore and Oprah as they attempted to blend the African and American school cultures together and navigated the unknowns of teaching and housing 150 students in a foreign country. Moore’s strong faith played a crucial part in helping her overcome many unforeseen difficulties. Moore recounted the introduction of

cellphones at the Academy as an especially difficult hurdle to overcome. Although the girls now possessed the ability to communicate with their families on a daily basis, the contact caused the girls immense guilt as they now had great privilege. The girls were provided an abundance of food on a daily basis while their siblings and parents may not have eaten that day. Moore prayed nightly for guidance of how to console the girls and gain their trust. To help them overcome their challenges she had one on one meetings with the students and made sure the girls knew she was there for them. When asked the biggest takeaway from her experience as head interim at the Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls, Moore responded that the philosophy of “there is no bar” was fully embodied during her time in Africa. Each day she was pushed by Oprah, her peers, and herself to work harder and constantly discern what she could do better. Although grateful for her unique experience in Africa, Moore is happy to be back at Boston College and give back to the community that Moore said gave her so much.

Archbishop Tobin Cont’d he discovered a “sea change” in American Catholicism, a “drumbeat of discontent” found also in Ireland. Drawing on his travels in Chile and Eastern Europe, where the clergy’s opposition to oppressive regimes inadvertently transformed into hostile opposition to each other, Archbishop Tobin believes the polarization and incivility of American politics has passed without challenge “into the heart of American Catholicism.” He cautioned against oversimplifying issues to facilitate placing blame. Finger pointing, he said, will only lead to defensiveness, which prevents one from examining the gap between one’s ideals and one’s conduct, which is the basis of a life of “continuing conversion.” The image of a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage, is one that the Church has used to describe herself since Vatican II. Archbishop Tobin believes the Church has rightfully moved away from calling herself “a perfect society” or a “City of God” here on earth. Before his tenure, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis had been rocked by mismanagement of the sexual abuse scandal. The Church reaches her perfection only in Heaven. Yet, the destination is not the only important part of this pilgrimage: the communio between fellow travelers on a pilgrimage is what distinguishes them from tourists. Communio requires diversity. In a world where more boundaries are being drawn, the Church must not exclude anyone in order to present herself as perfectly, pristinely beautiful. Pilgrimage is “not neat, tidy, or restricted to the spiritually superior.” Jesus himself broke down the boundaries of his day’s Judaism to eat with those considered sinners. Archbishop Tobin, referring to a 2005 synod on the Eucharist, regretted that despite all the Scriptural citations made, never were discussed the many references to Jesus eating with sinners. Asked what the conversation may have been had those references been introduced, Archbishop Tobin said he could not speculate. He advocated dialogue as another way of showing love, for now “we talk about, not to, each other.” Dialogue can even be viewed as a “paradigm” of humanity’s relationship with God. Upon his return to the United States, one thing that shocked Archbishop Tobin was the prevalence of violent, battlefield imagery used in discourse, even by clergy. During the question and answer session following the talk, referring to the controversy surrounding the Health and Human Services contraception mandate, which he called “a little heavy-handed” on the part of the Obama Administration, he looked askance at those predicting martyrdom for bishops in the near future and said, “I don’t feel, personally, that sort of anxiety.” Archbishop Tobin closed his talk by conveying two pieces of advice on dialogue he had learned from a fellow Redemptorist, one who worked, successfully, for peace in Ireland between the Nationalists and Unionists. The first was to bring everyone to the table, because “the group excluded will throw the bombs”. The second was to include women, whose presence and contributions changed the whole discourse. On that note, Archbishop Tobin called for an examination of “women’s particular gifts” and their place in the Church. Comic by Andrew Craig After finishing, he was greeted with enthusiastic applause.


4

Campus News

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

Bridging the Gap between Faith and Reason MARGARET ANTONIO

“My early education in Theology effectively came to a stop in 6th grade – after that, the classes just repeated that there are seven sacraments,” said Professor Sarah Byers. For many people, the seemingly routine memorization of prayers, rattling off the seven sacraments, and listing the three Persons of the Trinity in Sunday school result in their leaving the faith or partitioning it off in favor of “higher” intellectual pursuits. However, for Sarah Byers, a professor of philosophy at Boston College, studying philosophy helped her bridge this gap between faith and reason in her own life. Studying Augustine “was the first time I realized there was such a thing as high-level intellectual Christianity,” said Byers. Professor Byers’ interest in philosophy began at a young age, when at the dinner table her father took part in her intellectual development by challenging her about political ideas or ethical issues in which she was interested. When Byers took a philosophy core class as a freshman at the Jesuit St. Joseph’s University, she realized that those conversations with her father were at the heart of “philosophy,” which she eventually declared as her undergraduate major. Later, during her graduate studies, Byers’ studies on Augustine presented her with “the idea that early Christian philosophy was asking interesting questions in ethics and metaphysics, and that it was a development from ancient philosophy.” In November 2012, Byers published her book, Perception, Sensibility, and Moral Motivation in Augustine: A Stoic-Platonic Synthesis. Byers’ “first-rate study” of Augustine’s moral psychol-

ogy “makes a substantial contribution to Augustinian research,” according to Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews and the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. One of the topics the book addresses is the relationship between grace and freewill, a popularly debated topic in the modern era by the Dominican Bañez and the Jesuit Molina. Augustine, said Byers, asks the question of how people can have sudden conversions or dramatic changes of lifestyle and what role grace plays in such conversions as his own which he recounts in Book Eight of the Confessions. Grace, in Augustine’s account, is “the action of God on the mind to change one’s motivations.” According to Augustine, individuals who are habituated in a certain way often cannot perceive the virtuous life as something that will make them happy. “Instead, they see it [the virtuous life] only as a list of requirements, and rules and restrictions on their freedom, things that will not bring them pleasure,” says Byers. “They may see in a detached way that it is admirable in other people, but they’re not motivated to do those actions.” Although grace motivates the often dramatic motivational shift toward a virtuous lifestyle, it does not negate our free will according to the Stoic epistemological model that Augustine uses. “Perceiving virtuous action as good for oneself happens by grace – God acts to make us see things differently and feel attracted to doing the right thing. But that initial perception that God gives is not the same as actually deciding to do the relevant action. Assent to that ‘first impression’ is needed.” Augustine also thinks that in the case of these

large-scale conversions, the person is so morally weak that he cannot assent by himself, thus prompting the individual to intercede for yet a second grace from God, the grace to respond to the desire to convert. Therefore, the “locus of freedom” lies between the first impression and the decision. “When I receive the first impression, I could reject it straight-away, refuse to think about it. Or I could entertain it. By dwelling on it, entertaining it, I am being receptive. If I entertain it, I will feel repentant of my current lifestyle, and this leads me to invoke God to help me further. As a response to my invocation, God then grants me the second grace, the grace of decision or assent.” In discussing her journey through philosophy and her book, Professor Byers stresses that philosophy is for everyone and can enhance anyone’s understanding of the world and who we are as persons. “Human beings are not just made to do stuff... it’s not true that we can be satisfied by skill knowledge,” says Byers. “We have speculative minds. We need to get to core ideas, understand transcendent principles. Everybody needs to ask about the meaning of life.” From learning to think through ideas at the dinner table to answering questions on faith and reason, the study of philosophical ideas is foundational for logical thought and debate. Professor Byers’ advice to students: “Take ancient philosophy. Go back to the core questions that ancient philosophy asked. Everybody needs to know what is the meaning of life.”

On the Quest for God and the Good Life: Lonergan’s Theological Anthropology ALESSANDRA LUEDEKING On Wednesday, March 12, Mark Miller, Ph.D. graduate from Boston College’s former Theology MA program and current professor of theology at the University of San Francisco, delivered a lecture on the occasion of the publication of his new book, The Quest for God and the Good Life: Lonergan’s Theological Anthropology. Miller’s work centers on the belief that “all statements are answers to questions, and all questions arise in a context. To understand the statement, you have to know and understand the question that answers and then the context in which it arose.” His book aims at exploring a collection of statements and the questions that preceded them. Miller began by providing his listeners with the context leading to the creation of his book. As a foreign service major at Georgetown, Miller’s classes often erupted into debates which boiled down to the ultimate question: “how do you know?” Miller argued that all decisions are based on what people think is true about reality and also on what people hold as their highest good. Conflict stems from a lack of love. “There is conflict because people don’t love themselves. They place conditional grounds for love, such as ‘I love myself because I am educated, rich, beautiful, etc,’” Miller said. The antidote to this is given in the Great Commandment which inspires unconditional love: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,’ and ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself ’” (Mt. 22:37-39). “We need unconditional love to have self-love and then to be able to love other people,” Miller said. “There is an ordered structure to the Great Commandment. Proper love of other is based on proper love of self. And

proper love of self is based on love of God.” His ideas are echoed most prominently in Bernard Lonergan’s philosophy, which informs the content of Miller’s book. Miller then focused on the content of his book. He presents Lonergan’s three-part dialectic of things in continual struggle and harmony: nature, sin, and grace. Miller argues that there is “a good natural desire in all of us.” Our guilty consciences attest to our inherently good natures. Sin “twists” good nature, and grace is divinely bestowed to make humanity more divine. “Nature, sin, and grace are all forces moving on us all the time. A person, everything we do, is a product of the three forces (to a greater or lesser extent at certain times). Nothing in life is purely natural, purely sinful, or purely grace, but these abstract categories help you to understand work within reality,” Miller said. Miller then distinguishes in his book the four biases that plague one through life. First is the dramatic bias, in which we lie to ourselves and “part of you is at war with yourself.” Next is the individual bias, or the egoist attitude, where “you only care about yourself.” Then is the group bias, in which you only care about “your group and not the other.” Finally, there is the general bias, where you don’t consider the long-terms effects of your actions, and “you only care about your generation.” Miller closed by claiming that grace helps overcome these biases. In agreement with Lonergan, he posits that the Cross, which embodies salvation and redemption, is the answer to the question which is the human situation.

Sign up for a weekly hour of adoration in Bapst. For more info please contact: ethanmack12@gmail.com


World News

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

WORLD NEWS

5

Court Denies Notre Dame Exemption from HHS Mandate ALEX MARSLAND On February 21st the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling that denies Notre Dame University temporary legal protection from the federal contraception mandate. The HHS mandate allows religious institutions to sign an authorization form that indicates their objections to providing contraceptive coverage and prompts a third party administrator to provide it instead. The case concerns whether the signing of the authorization form constitutes an infringement on the free exercise of religion. The university filed a lawsuit asking for a temporary injunction to protect it from the penalties and fines associated with violating the law while it brought its case through the courts. A lower court initially denied the request for an injunction, and the university appealed, while also agreeing to sign the authorization form to avoid the concurrent penalties. The majority opinion in this case, written by Judge Richard A. Posner, argued that because Notre Dame’s health care plans are run by an independent insurance company, the insurance company would have to join the plaintiff in the objection. The university and the insurance company are perceived by the majority to be ethically independent agents. Although Notre Dame provides health insurance through this third party, the university can have no say on what coverage this third party provides. The authorization form moves the financial burden from the university to the third party, which, according to the majority, is enough to relieve the university from a substantial impediment to the free exercise of religion and conscience. The majority disagreed that Notre Dame was directly responsible for providing the objectionable coverage by signing the authorization form, stating that the members of the majority “have trouble understanding how signing the form that declares Notre Dame’s authorized refusal to pay for

contraceptives for its students or staff, and mailing the authorization document to those companies, which under federal law are obligated to pick up the tab, could be thought to ‘trigger’ the provision of female contraceptives.” Judge Joel M. Flaum dissented from the majority of the opinion. In response to the majority opinion’s assertion that the university would not be morally culpable for signing the authorization form, he writes that in cases of religious freedom, it is not the judge’s place to decide whether the university would be complicit in an amoral action. The court, he notes is composed of “judges, not moral philosophers or theologians; this is not a question of legal causation but of religious faith.” Flaum points out 19 legal precedents in which religious non-profits were given a preliminary injunction in the district court. Among these organizations are religious orders, diocese, and other Catholic universities. Finally, he turns to the words of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, noting that it “provides that a federal law may not ‘substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.’” He turns to Korte v. Sebelius which states that a substantial burden arises “when the government ‘put[s] substantial pressure on an adherent to modify his behavior and to violate his beliefs.’” The authorization form, he states, does not relieve this substantial burden, as it “requires the organization to perform a new act that it did not have to perform before.”

Medical Experts Approve Venerable Archbishop Sheen Miracle JAY CHIN James Fulton Engstrom was delivered stillborn three years ago. There was little oxygen in his blood and his heart was not beating. James’s mother, Bonnie Engstrom, prayed for Venerable Fulton Sheen’s intercession for sixty-one minutes after which her son finally began to breathe. After three years of investigation, in March of 2014, a group made up of seven medical experts have claimed that there is no natural cause for James’s revival. When the boy was delivered at the Engstrom residence, he was given CPR for twenty minutes until the ambulance arrived. The medics from the ambulance administered two shots of epinephrine; but that too was to no avail. At the hospital, the doctor, unaware that the child had at no point a heartbeat since delivery, decided to continue to try to revive him for five more minutes. “If he had known about the previous forty minutes, he would have just called it.” reported Mrs. Engstrom. But after sixty-one minutes, as they were about to call it off, his heart started beating at 148 BPM, which is healthy for a newborn and not what one would expect from a previously stillborn child. James has grown up completely healthy with five brothers and sisters. The medical report has been sent to the Vatican. There it will be reviewed by a board of theologians. If they approve of the miracle as well, then it will be sent to Pope Francis, who can then proclaim that God has worked a miracle through Venerable Fulton Sheen and proclaim

him Blessed Fulton Sheen. Fulton Sheen was born in 1895 in El Paso, Illinois, to an Irish Catholic family. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1919, after which he continued with his studies at the Catholic University of America, the Catholic University of Leuven, where he received a Ph.D. in Thomistic Philosophy, and the Angelicum in Rome, where he earned his Sacred Theology Doctorate. As a priest, his ministry was mainly teaching. He first taught in a few colleges in England, spent a while in Peoria, IL as a pastor, and then was sent to CUA. “[S]tudents would jam his lecture hall, even sitting on radiators, window sills and stairs, just to hear him speak,” said Msgr. Richard Soseman in an interview with Catherine Black. In 1930, he began his radio program Catholic Hour, which received between 3,000 to 6,000 listeners every week. In 1951, he was consecrated bishop and served as Auxiliary Bishop of New York. Later that year, he began his famed television program Life Is Worth Living, filmed in the Adelphi Theatre in Manhattan. Bishop Sheen received an Emmy Award in 1952 for his charisma and the power of his preaching. The program ended in 1957, after which Bishop Sheen became the director of the United States branch of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. He served there for eight years before being appointed as Bishop of Rochester, New York in 1966. Between 1961 and 1968, he filmed The Fulton Sheen Hour, a continuation of Life

is Worth Living. His active role as a television personality for nearly two decades earned him the title of one of the first televangelists. These programs are still syndicated on various Catholic networks and even a few Protestant ones. After resigning in October of 1969, he was made titular Archbishop of Newport. Archbishop Sheen continued writing and gave a series of lectures which he requested be recorded and distributed worldwide. These lectures were distributed by Ministr-O-Media, which garnered over a quarter of a million U.S. dollars for charity through the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. Bishop Sheen passed away in 1979 due to heart disease. Bishop Sheen’s Cause for Canonization was opened in 2002 by the Diocese of Peoria. Bishop Jenky of Peoria appointed Msgr. Richard Soseman as the Episcopal Delegate for the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, whose job it was to gather as much information on the life of Archbishop Sheen as possible. In 2013, Servant of God Fulton Sheen was proclaimed by the Vatican as a man of heroic virtue, exemplifying the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, and was proclaimed Venerable. It is expected that the miracle will be approved and so Ven. Fulton Sheen will be one step closer to canonization.


6

World News

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

Bishop Issues Pastoral Letter on Pornography GJERGJI EVANGJELI On March 19, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, VA released a new edition of his pastoral letter entitled Bought with a Price. On the same day, the bishop also published an article in First Things titled “Let the Battle for Purity Begin: Love vs. Pornography.” Both pieces of literature coincide with the Solemnity of St. Joseph, who is the patron saint of fathers. The pastoral letter’s title comes from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, where St. Paul adjures the members of the Church of Corinth to guard their bodies against unchastity, since, properly speaking, they are only the stewards of their own bodies, which were bought with a great price. Loverde reflects on the fact that when he was ordained a priest in 1965, divorces were less than half of the rates observable today, abortion was illegal, and far fewer Americans were incarcerated. He points to the growing trend of addiction to pornography as one of the causes for all of these societal changes. In doing so, Bishop Loverde echoes the words of Ted Bundy, the serial killer who underwent conversion shortly before his execution, who pointed to pornography as one of the greatest evils of the current age and one of the largest things in common among a large percentage of the inmates in American prisons. He argues that the main issue with pornographic material is that it does not simply breed a bad behavioral habit, but that has many physiological effects, scientific studies having established a chemical brain connection between pornographic addiction and other addictions such as alcoholism. He argues that the production of these chemicals effectively alters the wiring of the brain in individuals who partake in pornographic materials, resulting in the weakening of the area of the brain which is responsible for ethical decision-making. Loverde also points to the possible connection between the widespread consumption of pornographic material and the increasing trend

of the “hook-up culture” which can be observed in colleges throughout the country. He argues that the relative ease with which pornography can be accessed in today’s technology-infused age makes guarding one’s self against it that much more difficult and, as a result, the negative effects resultant from its consumption that much closer to any individual. He says that Pope Francis’ recent image of the Church as a field hospital is an especially apt metaphor when it comes to helping the faithful overcome this addiction. He also adds that though some proponents of pornographic distribution would cite their endeavors to be protected by the First Amendment, that freedom of expression should not be seen as an absolute right. The bishop’s target audience is primarily males, whom he argues are most affected and afflicted by pornographic addition. Though he calls females to be strict in disallowing any viewership of pornography, he argues that males who are addicted to such material are harmed with respect to “[the] family tree, courtship, and marriage preparation.” He points out that the release of both the letter and the article on the Solemnity of St. Joseph is deliberate, in that St. Joseph is a shining beacon of the courage and persistence that any male seeking to become a man and a husband should strive to. In addition, Loverde advises that those who wish to stop watching pornography should seek the help and support of their friends, thereby pitting the love between human persons against the objectification and neglect for human dignity that engenders pornographic material. Bishop Loverde concludes his pastoral letter by saying that he hopes that Catholics and Christians in general will join together to confront the growing trend of addiction to pornographic material and work to redress its negative effects.

Pope Francis Invited to Address Joint Session of Congress ALEX CERVONE On March 13, 2014, House Speaker John Boehner(R-Ohio), extended a formal, written invitation, with Nancy Pelosi(D-California), to Pope Francis to speak to a joint session of Congress. This would occur during his expected visit to the United States in 2015. Additionally, President Barack Obama is to visit the Vatican to meet with His Holiness on the March 27. Both indicate growing diplomatic relations between the United States and the Vatican. Provided the Pope accepts this open invitation, it will be a historic event. Never before has the Pope, or any religious leader serving as a head of state, addressed Congress. As for the motivation behind the invitation, according to a statement from Boehner’s office, his visit would be an “excellent opportunity for the American people as well as the nations of the world to hear his message in full.” Additionally, Boehner exclaimed in his statement: “The Holy Father’s pastoral message challenges people of all faiths, ideologies and political parties. His address as a visiting head

of state before a joint meeting of the House and Senate would honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions.” Boehner seeks the Pontiff’s attendance to foster Catholic ideals that are philosophically harmonious with his own political viewpoints, and the traditions of the nation. Boehner’s own political views are congruent with recent statements by Pope Francis where he condemned capitalism, calling it a “new tyranny.” Additionally, Boehner seeks to invite the Pope to address Congress due to the Pontiff’s inspiring millions of people around the world with his message of social justice, mercy, and forgiveness. He hopes Pope Francis will have a similar effect on Americans. Boehner revealed in his statement that, “They have embraced Pope Francis’ reminder that we cannot meet our responsibility to the poor with a welfare mentality based on business calculations. We can meet it only with personal charity on the one hand and sound, inclusive

policies on the other.” Boehner hopes that a visit by the Pope will continue to inspire Americans with these Catholic principles of benevolence and selflessness. As for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, she also stated that she has been inspired “by his message of peace, compassion and brotherhood.” It is clear why both politicians desire a visit by the Pope. They view Pope Francis’ ideals as being consistent with the traditional values of the United States that they hold dear. Boehner highlighted that the pontiff’s: “… Social teachings, rooted in ‘the joy of the gospel, have prompted careful reflection and vigorous dialogue among people of all ideologies and religious views in the United States… Particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom, and social justice. These principals are among the fundamentals of the American Idea.”


World News

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

7

Kidnapped Syrian Nuns Released by Syrian Rebels SOFIA INFANTE One dozen Greek Orthodox nuns and three women, who had been kidnapped from their convent by the Al-Qaeda affiliated rebel organization Al-Nusra Front, have been returned to safety after being held in captivity in the nearby town of Yabrud for three months. They were brought through a rebel-held border crossing to Arsal, a Lebanese border town, and released to Lebanese officials. Then they were driven to Syria, where they were taken to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus. On December 2 the nuns were abducted from the St. Thekla Convent when the town of Mal’oula, located 35 miles north of Damascus, was overtaken by al-Nusra Front during fighting against the Syrian army for control of the strategic Damascus Homs highway. The rebels first overtook Ma’loula for three days in September, resulting in the deaths of twelve people, including the death of three men who refused to renounce their Christian faith. Syrian officials claimed that the nuns were abducted to intimidate Syrian Christians. Meanwhile, al-Nusra has maintained that it was protecting the nuns from government gunfire. Their kidnapping inspired worldwide attention, with Pope Francis calling for prayers in his general audience on December 4. The BBC reported that the officials from Qatar and Lebanon negotiated the deal. According to Abbas Ibrahim, a Lebanese general involved in the talks, the nuns’ release was part of a deal with the Syrian government, which agreed to release around 138 female prisoners. Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s information minster, Omron al-Zoubi, was quoted as saying that only 25 prisoners were released in exchange for the nuns’ freedom. The nuns have maintained that they were treated well during their captivity. “As God is my witness, I tell you the al-Nusra Front treated us

Mass Readings March 30, 2014 Reading 1: 1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A Responsorial Psalm: PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6 Reading 2: EPH 5:8-14 Gospel: JN 9:1-41 April 6, 2014 Reading 1: EZ 37:12-14 Responsorial Psalm: PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 Reading 2: ROM 8:8-11 Gospel: JN 11:1-45 April 13, 2014 At The Procession With Palms – Gospel: MT 21:1-11 At The Mass - Reading 1: IS 50:4-7 Responsorial Psalm: PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 Reading 2: PHIL 2:6-11 Gospel: MT 26:14-27:66 April 20, 2014 Reading 1: ACTS 10:34A, 37-43 Responsorial Psalm: PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 Reading 2: COL 3:1-4 Gospel: JN 20:1-9

well”, stated one of the nuns. They explained that they were not forced to remove their crosses but did so “because we were in the wrong place to wear them.” Many view this development as a sign of hope that the Syrian conflict, which has claimed the lives of as many as 130,000 people and which is now entering its third year, will end soon. Syria’s Christians make up 10% of the population and have tried to remain out of the conflict, but the city of Yebrud has become a target for its suspected sympathies with President Bashar alAssad’s secular regime. The nuns’ release has renewed hope for the release of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi of Aleppo, which were abducted early in 2013 and whose fate remains unknown. Gregorios III, Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch, remarked that the nuns’ emancipation was “a sign of hope in this time of crisis.” The Syrian civil war began on March 15, 2011 when demonstrators began to protest Bashar al-Assad’s rule and his Ba’ath Party. In April, the Syrian Army attempted to repress the uprisings by firing on protestors. Currently, 2.5 million Syrians have sought refuge in nearby countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and 6.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict.


8

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

The Torch is a Catholic student newspaper produced by members of the Boston College community that reports on Catholic news both on campus and in broader society and that probes the vast riches of the Church’s intellectual tradition. Taking seriously the values to which Boston College is committed as a Catholic university, The Torch desires an active and healthy exchange of ideas. Moreover, its chief end is to be a tool for the new evangelization, spreading faith in Jesus Christ as a source of conversion and new life. There are numerous ways for you to get involved: news, photography, web design, layout, editing, etc! E-mail bctorcheditors@gmail.com for more info.

Editor-in-Chief Christopher Canniff Managing Editor Natalie Yuhas Executive Editor/ Business Manager Stephanie Johnson Executive Editor Ethan Mack Senior Staff Columnists Nikki Elliott Mark Hertenstein Katie Rich Campus News Staff Margo Borders, Editor Erin Anderson Margaret Antonio Alessandra Luedeking Allison Shely World News Staff Gjergji Evangjeli, Editor Jay Chin Sofia Infante Alexander Marsland Libbie Steiner Website Editor Kevin Gleason Layout Editors Jasmine Rebadavia Nick Wisniewski

Lenten Regulations Abstinence- On days of abstinence, meat is not to be eaten at all. Catholics over 14 years old are bound to the obligation of abstinence, which is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of Lent. Fast- Catholics over 18 and up to the beginning of their 60th year are bound to the obligation of fasting, which is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are allowed. Regarding other weekdays of Lent, participation in daily Mass and the voluntary observance of fasting is recommended. Commendable, particularly during Lent, is generosity to local, national and world programs of sharing our abundance, the traditional Lenten devotions and all the self-denial summed up in the Christian concept of mortification.


Faith Features

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

FAITH FEATURES

9

Faith in Action: Appalachia Volunteers HANNAH LUKE There are times in our lives when we become overwhelmed with everything going on outside of us—schoolwork, social expectations, familial pressures, plans for the future—that our vision is clouded. For me, this happens more than I would like it to. There is just so much going on that it is difficult to see straight. But then, every once in a while, the sky clears, and we can see again. I find that my sky is the most beautiful whenever I’m on an Appa trip. As a BC student, it’s easy to assume that we have something to teach the communities we serve. After all, aren’t we the ones who have prepared all year for this trip? While this may be true, the real truth that I’ve found in my experiences with Appa is quite the opposite. Each time I go on a trip with Appalachia Volunteers, I learn. I learn about myself, about others, about service; about what it means to be human. I am constantly amazed by just how much others have to teach me, and by the untapped wisdom that lies in other people. And in most cases, these things that I learn, these truths about life, come from the most unexpected sources. I spent this past spring break in Mechanicsville, VA, with my co-lead and 12 other BC students (the most genuine, compassionate, and hilarious group of people; I’ve never laughed so hard or felt so loved). It was my first trip as a leader, and I expected to be the one doing the guiding, doing the inspiring. This just wasn’t the case. We met so many people on this trip: the elderly couple who invited us into the warmth of their home after we cleared their driveway of snow; the incredibly kind, hardworking, and deserving owners of the home we were building with Habitat for Humanity; the endlessly patient group of construction supervisors on the work site; the youth group of the church where we stayed. These people all had one thing in common: a desire, whether it was conscious or unconscious, to be there for their fellow human beings. With each experience in Appalachia, I become more convinced that we were here to be there for one and other. Every person I came into contact with on this trip, the people in the community as well as the wonderful people in my group, taught me this truth simply by being their authentic selves. Sure, the sky gets cloudy sometimes. With the stress and negativity that our lives bring us, it can be difficult to see the inherent goodness in people. I feel this way often. But when I do, I remind myself of the moments when the sky is clear. I think of my experiences with Appalachia Volunteers, and the people I’ve met, the BC students I’ve seen as their best selves, and I remember. We are all human, and the most beautiful thing about being human is the way we’re made to be there for others.


10

Faith Features

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

Saint of the Issue: Patrick NATALIE YUHAS St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone once again this spring. Many people, whether they are Irish or not, celebrate this holiday in America, especially in Boston. People of all ages have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by wearing a plethora of green, decorating with shamrocks and leprechauns; attending parades in major cities, and of course, enjoying a Shamrock Shake from McDonalds. Although virtually everyone knows what St. Patrick’s Day is, very few actually know who St. Patrick is and why we celebrate him on March 17th. Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick was not Irish. He was born in Roman Britain and was captured by Irish pirates when he was 16 years old. They took him back to Ireland, where Patrick became a slave for six year. He worked as a shepherd and attributed this time in slavery as vital to the development of his faith. While enslaved, Patrick began to pray, which ultimately led to his strengthened relationship with God, and thus, his conversion into Christianity. After six years, a voice came to St. Patrick and told him it was almost time for him to go home and that his ship was ready. He fled and returned back to Britain where he studied Christianity. A few years later, St. Patrick had a vision that a man named Victorius handed him a letter with the heading, “The Voice of the Irish” and St. Patrick imagined the voices of the Irish calling him to walk among them. His vision convinced him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Although not always accepted, St. Patrick’s mission was to convert people in Ireland. He baptized many people and ordained priests to lead these new faith communities. St. Patrick’s Day is commonly associated with shamrocks because St. Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol while he was teaching. He compared the Holy Trinity to the shamrock, because there are three leaves within one plant, just as the Holy Trinity is three persons within one God. At the time, shamrocks were already considered sacred in Ireland because the Irish believed their shape and color symbolized rebirth and eternal life. Many people also commonly associate St. Patrick with snakes. The legend draws on imagery of Moses from Exodus and says that St. Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland because they attacked him during his forty day fast on a hill. In reality, however, St. Patrick could have never banished the snakes because evidence shows that there never were any snakes in Ireland after the last ice age. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th because that is the date commonly credited as that of his death. March 17th is also St. Patrick’s Feast Day. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day of obligation. Although he was not Irish, St. Patrick was fundamental for the development of Christianity in Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that celebrates both religion and the culture of Ireland. Even if you are not Irish, you can appreciate all that St. Patrick did and the legacy he left.

Catholicism 101: The Easter Triduum MARGO BORDERS The Catholic celebration of the Easter Triduum starts with Holy Thursday. The traditional name for this day is “Maundy Thursday,” which comes from the phrase “a new command,” referring to Christ’s words: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). The Holy Thursday Mass commemorates the institution of the Eucharist by Christ at the Last Supper as well as the institution of the priesthood. During the Mass, the priest traditionally washes the feet of a number of parishioners, usually 12, in order to imitate Christ when He washed the feet of His 12 apostles before the Last Supper in John’s Gospel. This act emphasizes the ideas of service and self-sacrifice that were exemplified by Christ in His Passion and death. In cathedrals, the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism that will be used for future Baptism and Confirmation. Because no Mass will be celebrated until the Easter Vigil, the priest carries the consecrated Host in a procession to the altar of repose, where it will stay until the Good Friday service. Often, people will stay for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during the night. Good Friday commemorates the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast on Good Friday, which means eating one full meal and two small meals that together do not equal a full meal. All Catholics above the age of 14 must abstain from meat on this day. During the Good Friday liturgy, there are readings, a reception of the Eucharist, and the congregation participates in the ven-

eration of the cross. Because of the mournful spirit of the day, the Eucharist is not consecrated during the actual service, which means the liturgy is not a Mass. After the readings, which include a reading of the Passion according to John, the congregation comes forward to venerate the cross by touching or kissing it. The liturgy ends in silence. The Easter Vigil is celebrated after sundown on Holy Saturday. It is the longest and most solemn Mass in the Catholic tradition, often lasting up to three hours. The Mass begins outdoors where a fire is lit and blessed, and the fire is used to light the Paschal candle. The Paschal candle, symbolizing the Light of Christ, is kept burning on the altar during the entire season of Easter, and is also used on special occasions throughout the year, such as baptisms and funerals. This candle is then brought into the church and the candles of the congregation are lit, lighting the entire church. The Liturgy of the Word is extended, including seven readings from the Old and New Testaments, which give an account of salvation history. During this Mass, catechumens, who have never been baptized, and candidates, who have been baptized in another Christian denomination, are initiated into the Church through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. Easter Sunday is the culmination of the Easter Triduum, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The liturgical season of Easter lasts 50 days from Easter Sunday until Pentecost Sunday. Because every Sunday is a holy day of obligation and Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday, Catholics are obliged to go to Mass this day.


Faith Features

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

11

Book Review: Papal Economics STEPHANIE JOHNSON People often criticize capitalism as an economic system that drives corporations to act as sources of injustice in the world. As a student in the Carroll School of Management, I can attest to being frowned upon a few times for my desire to someday work for a large corporation. Many of my peers believe that corporations in a free market economy aim solely for profit and power. It may come as a surprise to some, but democratic capitalism is the economic system supported by the Catholic Church and the papacy. While capitalism has its imperfections, it remains the system that most accurately aligns with Catholic social teaching as long as it satisfies human needs, converges with human anthropology, and accents rationality, independence, and the social nature of the human being. In Father Maciej Zięba’s book, Papal Economics: The Catholic Church on Democratic Capitalism, from Rerum Novarum to Caritas in Veritate, he sets out to conquer the challenging task of explaining the reflections of the papacy on the economic and political order found in their social encyclicals. He guides his audience through the past century of social encyclicals. Gradually, throughout the course of the past century, the papacy has evolved from an initial hostility to democracy to endorsement of it by Pope John Paul II. Zięba argues that John Paul II’s encyclical, Centesimus Annus, assumed the role of the flagship of Catholic social doctrine by offering the most comprehensive teaching on democratic capitalism. Therefore, he chooses to devote the majority of his book to analyzing Centesimus Annus. Centesimus Annus, written in 1991, is Pope John Paul II’s response to the fall of the Communist regime. According to Zięba, Centesimus Annus is “not only a modern link to the foundation of the Church’s social thinking; it is also an innovative document.” In addition to clarifying the Church’s position on democracy and capitalism, the document distinguishes faith from ideology, illustrates a relationship between society and the state, and demonstrates the preeminence of culture and anthropology over politics and economics. The first theme present in Centesimus Annus is political community. Regarding teachings on the foundations of social life and the role of the state, John Paul contends that respect for human dignity is the ultimate goal. He argues that democ-

racy encompasses the essential values and conforms to the vision of society and the state laid out in his encyclical. He states, “The Church values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices.” The broad participation is an expression of the personal dignity of every man. Democracy depends on principles derived from a certain vision of man and his nature, and at the center of John Paul’s anthropology is the “view of the transcendent dignity of the person.” Man’s rights derive from that dignity. The majority of participants in a democratic system must have a common vision of man and demand a certain anthropological minimum. John Paul II asserts that the elements of this anthropological minimum include: certitude that the actors in a democratic society are equal, intellectual optimism (the conviction that the majority of people will behave rationally), moral optimism (the presumption that the majority is apt to choose the good), realizing the common good as the reason for existence of the political community, and generosity toward minority groups. Looking at democracy from an anthropological point of view, it possesses the qualities necessary to respect the dignity of persons. In this manner, John Paul II praises the democratic system, yet he is sure to warn that government interference should be kept to a minimum to ensure autonomy in all areas of social life. John Paul argues that the responsibility for the shape of economic life rests on “society and the state.” Zięba states, “broadly speaking, we could sum up these reflections simply: the less there is of the state, the better, because it is better to have ‘more society.’” The second theme present in Centesimus Annus is economic life. In his analysis of economic life, John Paul II offers a criticism of “unbridled capitalism” and offers a vision of economic life as it would appear if Catholic social teaching were widely implemented. Pope John Paul’s critique is not of “capitalism per se but rather economism, a mechanistic and materialistic concept of human activity.” The error of economism lies in the belief that economic reality is the only reality. In reality, the economy is “only one aspect and one dimension of the whole of human activity.” When economic freedom is viewed as the only

freedom, it “loses its necessary relationship to the human person and ends up alienating and oppressing him.” Problems with capitalism arise when humans are thought of as consumers and producers rather than humans who consume and humans who produce. After offering this criticism of unbridled capitalism, John Paul offers his opinions relating to the positive aspects of capitalism. He argues that when capitalism recognizes the “positive role of business, the market, private property, and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector” the system aligns with Catholic social teachings. Throughout Centesimus Annus, he notes the developments and improvements to global prosperity brought about by capitalism throughout the past century. Among John Paul’s affirmations of a free market economy, he comments on the positive role of profit. As long as profit is not the only focus of a corporation, profit indicates that a corporation is functioning well. He states, “When a firm makes a profit, this means that productive factors have been properly employed and corresponding human needs have been duly satisfied.” When a free market society respects human dignity, it corresponds with Catholic social teaching. The final theme addressed is the primacy of culture. The pope concludes Centesimus Annus by arguing that culture enjoys primacy over political and economic reality. He states, “a given culture reveals its overall understanding of life through the choices it makes in production and consumption,” and “even the decision to invest in one place rather than another, in one productive sector rather than another, is always a moral and cultural choice.” Culture ultimately dictates societal decisions. As a Catholic student in the Carroll School of Management here at Boston College, it is fascinating to witness my faith and my education interacting. I highly recommend reading Papal Economics: The Catholic Church on Democratic Capitalism, from Rerum Novarum to Caritas in Veritate.

FACULTY COLUMNS The Privileged Poor ROBERTO GOIZUETA

Roberto S. Goizueta is the Margaret O’Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology at Boston College, where he has taught since 1999. Dr. Goizueta has served as President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. He has published and lectured extensively in the areas of U.S. Latino/a theology, liberation theology, and theological aesthetics. Shortly after becoming pope, Francis invited a Peruvian Dominican priest named Gustavo Gutiérrez to the Vatican. The two men concelebrated Mass together, shared meals, and had conversations. Since then, Gutiérrez has returned to visit with the Pope again, most recently several weeks ago. Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez is known as the founder of Latin American liberation theology. At the heart of liberation theology are two principles that, contends Gutiérrez, are the two main, overarching themes in the Scriptures. These themes are: (1) the universality and gratuity of God’s love, and (2) God’s preferential love for the poor. Yet, how can it be that God loves everyone equally and also loves the poor preferentially? What initially seems like a contradiction is resolved, however, when

we view God’s love through the eyes of the poor. The outcasts of our world know that, tragically, our world is divided between the powerful and the powerless, for the latter experience daily the painful consequences of that division. The persons in the best position to acknowledge the reality of division or conflict are those Continued on Next Page who suffer its consequences. In the words of Pope Francis, “we understand reality better not


12

Faculty Columns

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

The Privileged Poor Cont’d from the center but from the outskirts.” Conversely, those of us who benefit—whether explicitly or implicitly—from social and economic disparities are likely to either ignore these or deemphasize their significance. It is the hungry person, after all, who is in the best position to determine whether hunger exists in our society. In her Lectures on Philosophy, the French mystic Simone Weil observed: “Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.” In other words, the poor or powerless have a privileged perspective from which to evaluate “reality”, though such privilege in no way assumes infallibility or inevitability— only a greater likelihood of accuracy. Now, if our world is so divided between the powerful and the powerless, what can it mean to say that God enters into a world beset by such divisions? In such a divided world, what would it mean to say that God loves all people equally and gratuitously? For two thousand years the Christian tradition has proposed an answer that, for many, has seemed inconceivable, if not scandalous: Christians claim that, in such a world, the perfect expression of God’s love is found in the utter powerlessness of an unjustly condemned criminal who, having experienced abandonment by his closest friends and even God, hangs helplessly from a cross. God’s love enters history in the person of an outcast brutally tortured and

unceremoniously executed for befriending other outcasts, for “hanging out with” lepers, prostitutes, and sinners. God’s love enters a divided society on the side of those who suffer the consequences of the division—not because God loves the outcast more, but because in the midst of division and conflict God’s love for the powerful and God’s love for the powerless must take different forms. By way of illustration, if a mother finds that a fight has broken out between her strapping teenage son and his much smaller sister, the mother will not hesitate to try to “liberate” the smaller girl from the brother’s clutches—precisely because the mother loves her two children equally. In that context, the mother’s love for her son will take the form of a call to “conversion”, though he will not likely see it that way. Were the mother to take a neutral stance and not get involved because she “loves her children equally,” the young daughter would not experience the neutrality as love. In a situation of division, a neutral stance is implicit support for the divided status quo and, therefore, implicit support for the person(s) benefiting from the division, i.e., the most powerful. Neutrality, like silence, is consent. To say that God’s love is universal, then, is not to say that it is neutral. In fact, it is to say the very opposite: precisely because God’s love is universal, it cannot be neutral. If God is truly transcendent, that is, if God is truly a Mystery beyond our capacity to understand fully, then God will be revealed in those places and among those people most incom-

prehensible to our society, among those people whose lives themselves simply “don’t make sense” to us. The God who does not belong will be found among those persons who themselves do not belong. God will be revealed most fully among the hungry in a gluttonous world, among the powerless in a power-mad world, among the vulnerable in a world obsessed with security, among the physically disabled in a world obsessed with physical appearance, among the immigrants in a world obsessed with building ever higher fences, among the poor in a world that idolizes wealth. The poor are privileged, not because they are necessarily good, but because God is good. They’re privileged because they are the witnesses to a God whose unconditional, universal love knows no borders, no boundaries, and no barriers. Whenever we are tempted—as we always are—to identify God with power and wealth, with security and social acceptance, the powerless, poor, and forgotten people of our world are there to remind us of our idolatry, to remind us that we can never predict or circumscribe God’s love. They remind us of the scandalous message of the Gospel, namely, that a crucified convict is the perfect embodiment of God’s love. “‘Lord when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in? When did we see you needing clothes and give you clothes? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to visit you?’” (Mt 25:37-39).

The Three Books KENNETH J. HUGHES, S.J. Kenneth J. Hughes, S.J. is a visiting spiritual director at Boston College. He is a member of the New England Province and resides in the St. Peter Faber Jesuit Community, Brighton. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, back in the 12th century, spoke of three books which God has given us to read: The Book of Nature, The Book of Scripture, and The Book of Personal Experience. For each person these three books are always available and wonderfully timeless. How enriched we would be if we read from each book daily -- now reading from Nature, now reading from Scripture, now reflecting on our Experience! Here are a few comments on each book. The Book of Nature Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, in “God’s Grandeur,” notes that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God,” but complains that we have distanced ourselves from experiencing this grandeur: “nor can foot feel, being shod.” At this present time, with the advent of spring we can let our eyes casually spot the first snowdrops and daffodils, the first violets and tulip blossoms, smile for a brief moment, and move on, or, we can stop and linger a bit longer, really look at each flower’s beauty, glimpse the beauty of the One who created it, and so move to deeper joy and gratitude. The mother of Spanish poet Antonio Machado said to him when he was a boy, “Antonio, what have you done with your eyes?” She was chiding him for not taking time to look lovingly at the world around him. She speaks to us too. Are we truly seeing? “Seeing,” of course, means using all our senses: listening, tasting, touching, smelling. For example, Norwegian poet Hans Boerli, in his poem, “Sunrain,” observes that, “If you turn your ear to the wind and listen with all your heart, then you will hear distinctly God breathing.” Am I seeing, listening …? The Book of Scripture How often do we read the word of God? Do we call ourselves Christian and not ponder God’s word, Christ’s word? Do we say that Jesus is our friend and not contemplate his personality and actions? How well do we know our way around in this most precious book? Do we know where to turn to celebrate joy, be consoled in sorrow, find strength in difficulties?

What Scripture passage is your favorite? Mine is Jesus saying, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (Jn.14.6). I keep going back to that saying so as to be rooted in Jesus. I also underline with a thin red pen the passages which touch my spirit the most so that I can find them more easily when I need them for myself or for others. Would reading a prophet or a gospel or a few letters of St. Paul be a good Advent or Lenten project? In surprising ways, through Scripture, the Holy Spirit keeps meeting and stirring our spirit. Do I have my Bible near me always? The Book of Personal Experience With every year of our life, this book of personal experience becomes thicker as we add pages and chapters of our encounters with God – if we pay attention! Are we noticing those moments when God is revealing something of Himself, his care and love for us? For example, coincidences and surprises which elicit wonder are sure signs of God’s presence. Are we noticing? There may be moments of great joy -- “transfiguration” moments -- and moments of great insight into mystery -- “epiphany” moments -but, more often, we only catch glimpses of God out of the corner of our eye. Rainer Maria Rilke speaks for all of us, I think, when he wrote to God: “We become so accustomed to you, we no longer look up when your shadow falls over the book we are reading and makes it glow. For all things sing you: at times we just hear them more clearly.” Am I alert and paying attention to the signs of God’s presence? I suggest that reading these three books will make all the difference between living a vibrant, meaningful, peace-filled life and living a superficially successful but rather vapid life. The road less travelled still makes “all the difference!”


Senior Staff Columns

SENIOR STAFF COLUMNS

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

13

Simply Sinners ETHAN MACK Recently, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, died of poor health. Phelps’ church, mostly comprised of members of his own family, became infamous over the last few years when they started picketing the funerals of dead soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan while holding signs with such condemnable phrases as “God Hates Fags.” Within hours of news of his imminent death, a Facebook event group dedicated to picketing Phelps’ upcoming funeral gained thousands of likes. I heard countless people talk about how Phelps was a “bad man” and that his upcoming death should be celebrated. I could write an entire separate post about whether these expressed sentiments are misguided (I think they are); however, for the present moment I’d like to discuss the idea of labeling a man as “bad.” What do we mean when we generally make that judgment about a person? Are we saying that a person ontologically, that is, according to his or her nature, lacks good? Probably not. If that was their meaning, they would be in certain conflict with the Catholic Faith. Catholic teaching on nature holds steadfast to the idea that nature is ontologically good, and evil is the disorder of fundamentally good things. Thus, every man must be good in the ontological sense. What is probably meant by the “bad man” judgment is that he is a man that preformed evil actions throughout his life. This seems more reasonable. Men can of course perform evil actions. Certainly,

no one would deny that. However, by this definition I am also a bad man. I have done evil things throughout my life, and I will continue to do so until my death. However, most people would probably be hesitant to label me “bad” in the same way they would Fred Phelps. Thus, there are no bad people; there are no good people. There are sinners. Only two human beings throughout history can avoid this label. One was God, and the other carried Him in the womb. For the rest of us, it is an inescapable conclusion. We are sinful creatures, plain and simple. Why don’t we just leave it at that, instead of making statements about how someone’s sinfulness is greater or more notable than what we perceive to be standard? On the flip side, we should also be hesitant to use the label “good” in this manner. We should not assume that just because we aren’t Hitler or Fred Phelps, we’re more or less “good.” This is simply false. Even when speaking of the saints this label would be inappropriate. G.K. Chesterton has a great quote about the essence of sainthood in which he states, “Saints are those who recognize they are sinners.” If the holiest people who ever walked the earth were unwilling to call themselves good, then neither should we say that of ourselves.

Time Passed and Passed CHRIS CANNIFF I had lunch with a friend recently. I first met her in October of freshman year, and throughout that year and continuing into sophomore year, we became friends, getting together often with each other and with our many mutual friends. Then junior year came along and, as any upperclassman will affirm, you can often feel disconnected from your friends as a junior. A small portion live on campus, most live off campus, and many study abroad (some for both semesters). As for myself and this particular friend, I lived on campus, and she lived off campus; I was here for the entire year, and she went abroad in the spring. Now, senior year has been flying by as both of us have so many time-consuming commitments of all sorts, both academic and social. It was nice to be able to reconnect. There is something so joyful about sitting down with an old friend whom you haven’t seen for a while; you get to experience anew all of the unique things about them that brought about your friendship in the first place. With her, something special that immediately showed itself again was her ability to simply be present with the other person. For most of us, we feel awkward unless we fill the air with lots of chatter even if it’s meaningless. She, however, sees no awkwardness in a long silence. When one comes, rather than fumbling for words or averting her eyes, she just looks directly at you and smiles very genuinely. There’s something comforting in the smile; what would ordinarily be awkward is, rather, incredibly reassuring. I came across a somber line when reading a book a few months ago: “Time passed and passed. It did strange things. It swept people away.” As graduation looms ever closer for myself and my peers, this line has been lingering in my mind. We so often take the meaningful and intimate qualities of our friends and loved ones for granted, that is, until they are gone. With this friend, I was fortunate enough to see one such quality again, but aren’t some goodbyes final? Aren’t some losses permanent? Time seems to tend toward the passing away of all things. This sense of loss will make itself more apparent in the months ahead, and all throughout life it will be encountered. Loved ones will die, friendships may falter, relationships may crumble. When a grandparent departs this life, there is so much grief. When a friend harms you with their words and actions, or even just drifts away due to circumstance, there is so much hurt. When one you love or are just beginning to love rejects you, there is so much pain. In these moments, certain questions come to our mind. We rage against God. Why would you take my close family members from me? Why would you let my friend grow cold or simply forget me? Why would you reveal to me an unsurpassed and deeply abiding beauty in

another person and not allow romance to flourish? The sense of loss, particularly the loss of love, seems ubiquitous. In looking for an answer to these questions, I am often at a loss for words. The virtues might be the best key for understanding. According to our faith, we may hope that the love is not actually lost forever. At least in the case of friends and lovers, although not in the case of the deceased, there is in this life the possibility of some growth back toward the relationship that was once possessed; in some cases, perhaps an even deeper relationship could be obtained, the difficulties of loss having been endured. Sadly, in this vale of tears, though, this is not always how things turn out, but this does not mean that the union of love is necessarily broken forever. Rather, it might instead be extended, however painfully, across the boundary between this life and the next, until we are one day reunited in paradise. To get there, we must never stop loving God, for if we choose to stop loving Him, all loss will be made permanent – this is the doctrine of Hell, the only true and final loss. However, if we persist in loving Him, our union with Him and with all others whom we love will ultimately be made into endless joy – this is the doctrine of Heaven. The longing that we feel in the face of life’s losses is a longing for this joy, a longing for communion with all in the divine life. To be reunited this way in love is similar to that joy of reuniting with a friend which I spoke of up above, but it is of an infinitely greater degree; it is the truest and deepest rediscovery of that love that once was. During the long “silences” of loss, God is not fumbling around or averting His gaze from us; instead, He smiles at us as my friend does. Look for that smile as a source of reassuring comfort until we return to the Word. For, in time, love may seem lost; it may seem to pass away. But in eternity, love is, in fact, all that remains, and it is everlasting.


14

Senior Staff Columns

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

Coming Clean for Lent KATIE RICH

Lent is a season unlike any other. It’s a 40 day battle of will power. Even fallen away Catholics, Protestants, and non-Christians can find something enticing about sacrificing something we hold near and dear to our hearts for six weeks. The ambiguous “Lent” seems to be a forbidding character standing before us, its lips curling into a devilish smile, daring us to just try to give up that certain thing for 40 days. Just try. Its doubt in our capabilities infuriates us, and drives us to give up not only chocolate but all sweets. Take that, Lent. Who’s weak now? We all know the textbook reasons Catholics sacrifice something (or do something extra) for Lent. We are supposed to be fasting in order to share in Christ’s suffering of death on the Cross. Every time we go to eat a chocolate, we should remember, oh that’s right, Jesus died for my sins, and retrieve our hand from the candy dish. But in reality, how often does that happen? More

frequently we find ourselves either lamenting the fact that we gave up chocolate in the first place or celebrating our personal victory of will power over the sweet temptation. The problem is that we think we are giving up distractions that keep us from Christ, but when we take the time to reflect, we will realize it isn’t Facebook or chocolate or not going to the gym every day that is keeping us from Him at all. The only barrier between us and our savior is our very own pride. I am an extremely non-confrontational person. I will bend over backwards if it means I won’t have to confront someone about a problem. What I’ve come to realize lately, however, is that the person I hate confronting the very most is myself. Denial is such a comfortable place to live. I love telling myself that there isn’t a problem, that everything’s fine. When admitting the existence of a problem is unavoidable, I

just pat myself on the back and tell myself that I can do it, that everything is under control. You go, girl. Handle life completely on your own. You don’t need some old God to do anything for you. Before we know it, we have replaced God with our pride. We worship our very own golden calf, oblivious to the fact that we are still stranded in the desert of sin without an escape plan. We don’t eat chocolate because we are too proud to admit defeat. It is fear of failing our ego rather continued on page 14

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? NATALIE YUHAS

I may not remember much from first grade, but I certainly do remember the day we talked about careers. We gathered around on the floor, sitting “Pretzel Style,” eagerly listening to the story about different professions. Finally, the story finished, and the teacher closed the book and set it on her lap. “So, who knows what they want to be when they grow up?” she asked. A few tiny hands bolted into the air. “Ballerina.” “Policeman.” “Doctor.” “Veterinarian.” “Chef.” My hand lingered in the air until finally my teacher called on me. “I want to be a saint when I grow up.” The teacher was surprised and looked at me for a second before she responded, “Well. Maybe one day we will be reading a book about Saint Natalie.” Since then, I have had a few more dreams. I have chosen my majors based on what types of classes I like and what talents I have. Now becoming who I want to be when I “grow up” is getting closer and closer every single second. I still think about this question from time to time: What do I want to be when I grow up? I may have more concrete dreams, but I still want to be a saint. By that I mean I want to be caring. I want to be faithful. I want to be brave. I want to be a woman for others. The canonization of a saint is a lengthy process, and there are rigorous guidelines for what the Church considers a saint, including miracles.

While it is highly unlikely that any of us at Boston College are going to be performing miracles or sacrificing our life for our faith anytime soon, we can still strive to be saints in our everyday lives. There is a lot of pressure at BC to be perfect, well rounded students; there is pressure to get good grades, pressure to be incredibly involved in lots of clubs, pressure to be a regular at the Plex, and a pressure to go out on the weekends. Among all these things, we often get stressed and overwhelmed. There is a focus on the “I.” I am so stressed with all of these exams and tests I have this week. What meetings do I have tonight? I have to find time to fit in the Plex. What do I want to do tonight? In the midst of our busy college schedules, it isn’t difficult to lose sight of the kind of person you are becoming. For me, growing up to be a saint means to take time to focus on my faith, to volunteer my time, skills, and compassion to others, and to be virtuous, despite my busy schedule. What do you want to be when you grow up? We are at Boston College because we are motivated students. We are striving to be CEOs, nurses, teachers, and people of the working world. However, in the midst of thinking of what you want to be, take some time to think about who you want to be.

Senior Staff Book Recommendations Chris Canniff // Heaven Was Not Enough Constance O’Hara

Ethan Mack Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton

Nikki Elliott // Heroic Living Chris Lowney

Katie Rich // The Walls of Jericho Jack Ford

Mark Hertenstein // The Last Temptation of Christ Nikos Kazantzakis

Natalie Yuhas // Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen


Senior Staff Columns

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

15

Guidepost: Prayer of a Procrastinator NIKKI ELLIOTT “Lazy people want and crave much but will get little, but those who are diligent and work hard will prosper and have something to show for their lives.” - Proverbs 13:4 I am a master of procrastination. I have the hardest time getting started on things and as a result I am often scrambling at the last minute to meet due dates and deadlines. I seem to employ my greatest procrastination tactics when I have a writing assignment due. Instead of refocusing my efforts when I hit a writer’s block, I will waste time changing the font, reformatting the heading, or creating an unnecessary cover page. I know my writing assignment is in real trouble, though, when I leave my work altogether and procrastinate by baking, cleaning, or, my personal favorite, working out. As much as I like to tell myself that reorganizing my desk drawers, going to the gym, and changing the typeface from Times New Roman will get my paper done faster, I know that these are just aversion schemes derived from my own indecision and fear of failure, and that sooner or later I am going to have to get down to business. I often procrastinate when it comes to my faith life too—holding grudges against those who have hurt me instead of first forgiving them, telling myself that next year I will give up sweets for Lent, making excuses that I am too busy to go on a retreat right now, or promising that someday I will give more priority to the time I devote to God. I instinctively hesitate to act on the things that I am uncertain about or that I fear I might fail at, and sometimes I let procrastination keep me from doing what I know I should do right away. What I don’t always realize, though, is that this behavior takes advantage of God’s precious gift of time and impedes opportunities to grow closer to Him. Fortunately, God is supremely generous and infinitely patient. He gives us all that we need to respond to His loving call but lets us do so in our own way and on our own time. Now I cannot promise that I won’t still wait to write a paper until the night before it is due, but my procrastination tendencies don’t seem as tempting when I remember that God gives me exactly what I need to get started, move ahead, and finish in due time. Dear Lord, I ask for the strength to live with confidence, the obedience to work with diligence, and the courage to turn my back on procrastination so that I may make the most of Your precious gift of time. Help me remember that You are with me and will give me all that I need as I work through my own fear, doubt, and uncertainty. May everything that I do be done in Your name and with the purpose to praise You and love You more fully. Amen

Coming Clean for Lent cont’d than failing Christ that keeps our hand out of the candy dish. This Lent, take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet. Any quiet place where you can sit alone and uninterrupted will suffice. Ask yourself, what am I hiding? What burdens have you been carrying around with you for days, weeks, maybe even months or years? Have the courage to dig up the ugliest secrets you have hoarded in your heart. Throw it all out on the table, and then give it up to God. Sacrifice, rather than worship, your pride. Be still, and see if God will tell you what to do. One of the most

loving parts about Him is His infinite mercy. If you listen closely enough, you will hear Him throw up his hands in excitement, and exclaim, “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and now is found” (Lk 15:23-24). Come clean with yourself this Lent, and you will surely find reason to slaughter the fattened calf and rejoice, for you have come alive again in Christ.

Protestant Perspective: Practicing Ecumenism MARK HERTENSTEIN The most common method of ecumenical work is to dialogue. These meetings and discussions take on doctrinal and theological issues. Some touch on practice, but mostly in the sense of differences in the theology that undergirds practices of a particular Christian group. The aim of such meetings, and the larger movement of ecumenism, is to try to rectify and clarify theological positions so that Churches will be able to worship together, recognize each other’s sacraments, and so forth. There are times, however, that I wonder if the way we have gone about ecumenism is perhaps starting at the wrong place, or at the very least that we are short-changing practicing ecumenism. I think that there should be more importance placed upon mutual worship and participation. Prayer services often accompany large or important meetings, and those are fine and beneficial. But there is something to be said for the ability to participate in liturgy/worship/ Mass together, as much as possible. That means we cannot, at the moment, take communion together. Many other things are possible though. An example would illustrate the point I am trying to make. At La Sagrada Familia I had a fantastic opportunity to do one of the Scripture readings and part of the prayers of the faithful in English. No one asked whether I was Catholic. No one

should have, because ultimately that did not matter for such participation. We hold those things in common, regardless of any historical or ideological division that may exist. We have the same Scripture, we proclaim the same Word of God, we pray to the same Trinitarian God in the name of the same Jesus Christ. In some cases, such as Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans, we have roughly the same liturgy and manner of worship. There should be no reason why we don’t frequently participate in the common practice of the Christian faith to the fullest extent possible, much less even occasionally. Christian truth is not just a mental concept, but a truth that is lived and is inseparable from practice and reality. Truth is concrete in every sense in the Christian worldview. The truth is not simply a metaphysical idea to which we arrive by logic; it is also confirmed and experienced in its practice. Christian doctrine is true, but it is rather pointless if it is not practiced by those of us who adhere to it. Perhaps, with regards to ecumenism, the proper starting point actually is kneeling together, reading and receiving the Word together, and praying together. When we pray, we pray that God will do something, but it is through us that God brings our prayers to fulfillment. When we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,” we are certainly praying that God

will bring about the realization of His Kingdom. This is not done apart from us, but rather with us as an integral part. We are praying that His Kingdom and His will can be realized through us. Similarly, when we pray with Christ that we may all be one, we are praying that the Church will be brought to the fullness of unity. But it is in a specific way, that is, through us, that this will to unity will happen. The problem with ecumenism today is not that it dialogues – that is necessary still. The problem is that there is not nearly the proper amount of joint worship or participation that could and should be done. The point is that all of that dialogue and agreement will truly mean nothing if it does not correlate with Christian practice. All the ecumenism in the churches spread throughout the world will mean nothing if they do not cooperate and join together as much as possible, and practice the unity that they at least have spoken or written together, the unity that has defined the universal Christian tradition for millennia, and the unity of all in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.


16

The TORCH // Volume I, Issue 7

@pontifex Jesus is never far from us sinners. He wants to pour out on us, without limit, all of his mercy.

In life we all make many mistakes. Let us learn to recognize our errors and ask forgiveness.

Jesus is our hope. Nothing – not even evil or death – is able to separate us from the saving power of his love.

The Eucharist is essential for us: it is Christ who wishes to enter our lives and fill us with his grace.

Sickness and death are not taboo subjects. They are realities that we must face in Jesus’ presence.

In a family it is normal to take charge of those who need help. Do not be afraid of frailty!

May we learn to say “thank you” to God and to one another. We teach children to do it, and then we forget to do it ourselves!


All of us who are baptized are missionary disciples. We are called to become a living Gospel in the world.

Christian love is loving without counting the cost. This is the lesson of the Good Samaritan; this is the lesson of Jesus.

Lord Jesus, make us capable of loving as you love.

Our deepest joy comes from Christ: remaining with him, walking with him, being his disciples.

Let us learn from Christ how to pray, to forgive, to sow peace, and to be near those in need.

Let us pray for Christians who are victims of persecution, so that they may know how to respond to evil with good.

To all who are sick, do not lose hope, especially when your suffering is at its worst. Christ is near you.

Issue 7 - March 26, 2014  

The 7th publication of The Torch BC

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you