Archive for the ‘War and Violence’ Category
As word got out that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a Navy SEAL strike team in Pakistan, television and the Internet quickly began to feature images of spontaneous celebrations outside the White House and at ground zero in New York.
Just as quickly, blogs and social media pages such as Facebook began to rage with debates: about the morality of bin Laden’s killing and how it was accomplished and about the appropriateness of the celebratory atmosphere. Others questioned the meaning of the “justice” described by President Barack Obama in announcing bin Laden’s death.
In one of the Catholic blog discussions, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, captured some of the more charitable threads of the Internet debate:
“The Christian is not simply in favor of life for the unborn, for the innocent, for those we care for, for our families and friends, for our fellow citizens, for our fellow church members or even for those whom we consider good, but for all. All life is sacred because God created all life. This is what lies behind Jesus’s most difficult command: “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” wrote Martin.
“As a Christian, I am asked to pray for him and, at some point, forgive him. And that command comes to us from Jesus, a man who was beaten, tortured and killed. That command comes from a man who knows a great deal about suffering. It also comes from God.”
To read Jesuit Father James Martin’s full blog post on the Christian Response, please visit America Magazine’s In All Things blog.
With over four decades on the continent, Jesuit Father Mike Schultheis has devoted himself to providing Catholic higher education across Africa including stints in Uganda and Tanzania. In the 1990s, he taught economics at the Catholic University of Mozambique, established its first graduate degree and founded a research and documentation center. He also was the first president of the Catholic University of Ghana. All of his previous educational apostolic work led him to his latest initiative of opening the Catholic University of the Sudan two years ago.
With educational opportunities in Sudan being among the worst in the world and adult literacy below 30 percent, Schultheis realizes that the Catholic University of the Sudan is a critical component in moving the country forward after almost 25 years of civil war. The founding of the university also comes at a critical time for the nation as it prepares for a historic vote in 2011 to decide if Sudan stays united or becomes two countries.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference established the Catholic University of the Sudan as a centerpiece of their national program to help the country recover from decades of violence, famine and mass displacement of people. The vision for the university and its development goes back even farther, to half a century ago, soon after Sudan’s independence from Britain in 1956. The idea for the university was discussed again when former Sudanese president Jafaar Nimeiry met with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1983, just months before a civil war broke out in the county and dashed the university project yet again.
“The Catholic University of the Sudan, as a national institution, is a dream long deferred,” explains Schultheis. “
You can read more about the new Catholic University of the Sudan here. You can also watch the interview with Fr. Schultheis on the progress of the Catholic University of the Sudan produced by National Jesuit News last year when the school launched its second faculty of agricultural and environmental sciences in Wau.
Jesuit Father Rick Curry runs the Academy for Veterans at Georgetown University for those retuning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The program aims to assist veterans who have been disabled in combat in rebuilding their lives and responding to their needs. The program also includes emotional rehabilitation through performing arts.
A film about the Holocaust – produced by a Jesuit priest – finds itself on a possible path to the Academy Awards.
The 37-minute documentary is called “The Labyrinth,” and tells the story of Marian Kolodziej, a Polish Catholic resistance fighter during World War II who survived more than five years in Auschwitz. Three years ago, Kolodziej’s work was discovered by Jesuit Father Ron Schmidt, who came to Auschwitz to produce a documentary on an annual interfaith conference held there.
Friends in the film industry who saw an early cut of the project told Fr. Schmidt he had a possible Oscar nominee on his hands. But, to qualify for nomination, films need to be shown in New York and Los Angeles theatres for at least five days – a tall, expensive order for documentary shorts produced on little more than hope and a prayer.
But sometimes that is enough – each year, the International Documentary Association sponsors the DocuWeeks showcase, just to make sure that worthy documentary features and shorts get the exposure they need for a shot at Oscar. Competition is fierce – only five short films are selected from entries submitted worldwide.
“The Labyrinth” will be one of them. It premieres on Friday, August 13th in New York and Los Angeles, and buzz has already begun to build. An Oscar nomination remains a mysterious, distant goal – but this powerful short film has already achieved more than its makers hoped and prayed for.
You can learn more about Schmidt’s documentary at National Catholic Reporter and by watching the trailer for the film below.
Since 1995, Jesuits, lay partners and members of the broader Ignatian family have gathered with others organizations at the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., to call for the closure of the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests were shot to death by a Salvadoran military squad, who then proceeded to murder the Jesuits’ housekeeper and her daughter while they slept. The Salvadoran soldiers, who killed these Jesuits and their companions, were trained at the SOA. The Ignatian Solidarity Network annually hosted a teach-in for justice prior to the protest at the fort’s gates.
In 2009, the ISN gathered the national Ignatian family for its final year of participation in the SOA protest. While other groups will carry on at Fort Benning, the ISN is transitioning to a regional model of raising awareness. The focus will be on teaching and informing the public about a variety of issues in their local area.
Watch the video below to hear more about last fall’s protest and the transition plans for ISN.