Articles by Leonardo De Chirico

Vatican Files no. 22

Article by   July 2013
Roughly one hundred days ago, March 12th 2013, Cardinal Bergoglio was elected to the chair of Peter becoming Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a counting takes for granted that Peter was the first Pope and that an unbroken chain of successors followed him up to now. This theological account of Church history is, of course, disputable, but that is not the point here. The point is to take advantage of this symbolic event to begin to see what is emerging as far as Francis's interpretation of the Papacy is concerned. continue

Vatican Files no. 21

Article by   June 2013
Today "the arts" is a term that captures the imagination of many in evangelical circles. If you want to be hip and relevant as you cast your ministry vision, you must talk about the arts. The problem, however, with all this talk about "the arts" is that it's difficult to contribute intelligently to the discussion if one lacks thorough understanding and expertise of the subject. For evangelicals, it is not so much a matter of personal acquaintance or preparation, but rather of cultural insensitivity that at times verges towards naiveté. Broadly speaking, the evangelical culture has been largely shaped by a suspicious attitude towards the arts, investing more on efficacy than aesthetics, trying to reach results rather than beauty, and aiming at the mind rather than inspiring the imagination continue

Vatican Files no. 20

Article by   May 2013
After a couple of eventful months surrounding the Vatican, the time has come to shift into a more routine mood. Pope Francis has attracted a lot of attention from the media and has sent various messages of change and renewal. After the initial surprise, the various Vatican departments are coming to terms with a less pompous papacy, and the Pope himself is beginning to shape his own views on a number of open issues that are on the Vatican agenda. continue

Vatican Files no. 19

Article by   April 2013
"The beginning of wisdom is the definition of words" (Socrates). If you define a word in a certain way you make claims about reality. Our postmodern culture has stirred us to come to terms with the fact that words do not have stable meanings but exist in an flux that drives them in one way or another depending on the interests of their users. This is the current situation of the word "Evangelical". continue

Vatican Files no. 18

Article by   March 2013
The Three Tasks of Pope Francis The election of Cardinal Bergoglio to the papacy responds to three basic concerns that the conclave felt it necessary to address. These concerns helped to sketch the profile of the new Pope and Cardinal Bergoglio fitted it. continue

Vatican Files no. 17

Article by   February 2013
Benedict XVI shocked the whole world announcing his resignation from being the reigning Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. For centuries, no Pope had resigned but has instead waited for his death while still holding the office. His announcement was in Latin, not exactly the lingua franca of today's world. Before getting the attention of the media, journalists had to rush to experts in Latin to be sure of what was going on. In doing something remarkably new, Pope Ratzinger did it in a very old-fashioned way. Even in one of his last acts as Pope, he was both modern and traditional. In a way, he reflected the Roman Catholic way of doing things by maintaining tradition, yet at the same time constantly changing. continue

Vatican Files no.16

Article by   January 2013
The priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus in John 17 is unanimously recognized as one of the foundational texts, if not the text par excellence, dealing with Christian unity. There our Lord prays to the Father for His disciples to be one. The pattern of their unity is the relational life of the Trinity. As Father and Son are one, so Jesus prays for his disciples that their unity will be "as" the Triune God is one. continue

Vatican Files no.15

Article by   November 2012
The Synod for the New Evangelization can be thought of as "a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old" (Matthew 13:52, ESV). Jesus's explanation of the parable of the net is a useful starting point to come to terms with what happened at the Synod that just ended (28 October 2012). After weeks of intensive discussions, its final act was the drafting of a list of 58 propositions (i.e. points worthy of attention) that were presented to the Pope for his consideration in the future promulgation of a papal document (Apostolic Exhortation) that will become part of the Magisterium of the Church. The shape of the New Evangelization (NE) is becoming more and more clear, at least on paper, while it remains to be seen what practical outcomes will result from it. The achievements of the Synod as reflected by these propositions are a mixture of new and old things that call for discernment in order to not concentrate on a few selected items alone. continue

Vatican Files no.14

Article by   September 2012
The recent death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (1927-2012) provides an opportunity to reflect on wider Roman Catholic trends. He has been one of the most attractive and yet polarizing figures of the last thirty years. Jesuit, scholar, archbishop, popular writer, sought-after opinion maker, he has unwittingly created tensions between his numerous fans both inside and outside of religious circles. In addition to this, he has more than his share of vocal critics within the more conservatives sectors of the Roman Catholic Church. Even his death has seen the two parties commenting on it very differently. Martini's biography in itself is a trajectory which epitomizes some of the key features of post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism, e.g. Biblical renewal, the openness to the modern world, and the alleged inner conflicts within high-ranking Roman Catholic hierarchy. continue

Vatican Files no.13

Article by   August 2012
Journeys of Faith is the title of a recent book which contains a number of biographical narratives about people in the US context who have changed their Christian allegiance from one church or tradition to another. It is a fascinating account on the complex reality of religious changes in peoples' lives. continue
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