During his pontificate, Pope Francis has both broadened and enhanced the concept of synodality and the synodal process to involve “especially those on the periphery who are often excluded and forgotten” (Vademecum) and even those who have left the church. This thrust toward maximum participation and inclusion will necessarily give rise to divergences and conflicts
Reconfiguring Ignacio Ellacuría’s Symbolic Conception of “the Crucified People”: Jesus, the Suffering Servant, and Abel
This article offers an appreciative but critical appraisal of Ignacio Ellacuría’s concept of “the crucified people,” which identifies the oppressed peoples of history with both Jesus and the Suffering Servant. In formulating his concept, Ellacuría does not sufficiently delineate the potential volitional differences between Jesus, the Servant, and the crucified peoples of history. As a
This article argues that Pope Francis adopts a practice-focused approach to synodality, and it examines key elements of that approach, including the practice of ecclesial discernment, and the requirement that the church read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel.
The year 2023 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the March on Washington that featured civil rights leader, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This article focuses on King’s critique of racism, poverty, and militarism, and his commitment to justice, love, and hope.
Because of his hostility to pure nature theory, Henri de Lubac has typically been viewed as opposing Francisco Suárez’s metaphysics. His proximate target was the neo-Suárezianism to which he was exposed during his Jesuit formation. Suárez was the Jesuit order’s intellectual founding father and his ideas continued to shape Jesuit philosophy and theology, sometimes in opposition to neo-Thomism. Although de Lubac contested Suárez’s promotion of new and modern theology, Suárez positively informed his approach to key topics: appetite and its end; nature, desire, and the supernatural; the perfection of nature; essences as unique existents; eclecticism; and political resistance.
To Dream in North and South America: Reflections on the Sixtieth Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
This article reflects on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered
sixty years ago in Washington, DC. It begins by pointing to the concept of “dream”
as it is understood in current language and how Dr. King used it in a theological way.
Next, the essay compares this with what Pope Francis has frequently said about
dreams, including his own. Reflecting on King’s words and the sense that the dream
he spoke about is still not a reality but a horizon of hope that stimulates struggle,
the article presents a comparative study of racism in the United States, according
to King, and Brazil, where structural racism permeates the whole society, delaying
indefinitely the dream of equality and justice. I also show how liberation theology has
been a helpful element in the struggle to keep the dream of equality alive. I
Rethinking Gregory of Nyssa’s Mystical Theology: The Role of Hostile Powers in Homilies on the Song of Songs
The aim of this article is to rethink the way scholarship conceives Gregory of Nyssa’s so-called mystical theology by directing attention to his account of hostile powers in the Homilies on the Song of Songs. In recent decades, debates on “divine darkness” have governed scholarly readings of Christian progress in the homilies. However, through his allegorical commentary, Gregory also provides an extensive account of the history, ontology, and activity of the devil and demons, while also instructing Christians on how to defeat them. According to this account, only Christ is victorious in the proper sense. Therefore, believers must participate in Christ’s victory by journeying the way of the Homilies on the Song of Songs. This begins with baptism and continues with self-knowing, prayer, pure thoughts, and correct worship. Therefore, these homilies—communicating Gregory’s vision of “divine darkness”— also provide an extensive account of how to overcome adversarial powers whose goal is to prevent the bride’s union with God.
This article parallels Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for civil, economic, and racial equality in the USA with Julius K. Nyerere’s unrelenting liberation struggle for the emancipation of Southern Africa from colonial shackles. I write this article fully cognizant of King’s belief that what united the minority and colonial peoples of America, African, and Asia was the struggle to overcome the legacy of colonialism and racial injustice. I therefore argue that King’s dream was a shared dream, which I analyze through the prism of liberation theology.
This article argues that Ignatius Loyola, in proposing the “hierarchical Church” as norm for judgment and feeling, meant to evoke and commend aspects of the Dionysian tradition—especially its principle of hierarchical mediation and its affective portrait of spiritual perfection. Supporting this interpretation are considerations of the world behind the text (the reforming Dionysianism abroad in Ignatian Paris), the world of the text (the culminating position and concerns of the “hierarchical Church”), and the world in front of the text (its reception by Peter Faber and Jerome Nadal). Interpreted against a Dionysian backdrop, Ignatius’s hierarchical church becomes a charter for ecclesial mysticism.
We need a nonviolent soteriology that honors scriptural and theological traditions about enemy-love, suffering, sacrifice, and satisfaction and refuses to further harm victims of violence and oppression. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence and Bernard Lonergan’s way of understanding Christ’s satisfaction by analogy with the sacrament of reconciliation disclose one way suffering can be redemptive: When nonviolent activists “present their very bodies,” they expose the violence latent in unjust situations. Similarly, when Christ presents his body, he exposes the violence at the heart of sin. Like Christ, activists “become sin” (1 Cor 5:21)—not because they take responsibility for the sin, but because sin becomes visible in the wounds it leaves on innocent bodies. Once visible, healing can begin. Further, both men argue for a proper unfolding of the extension of love to enemies, lest victims be further harmed and injustice ignored.