• Cadaverous Decomposition as a Representation of the Soul’s Journey. Anthropological Evidence of a Funerary Ritual

      Marta Licata; Melania Borgo; Paola Badino; Silvia Iorio (MDPI AG, 2018-09-01)
      Our archaeological and anthropological investigations carried out inside the Crypt of the Franciscan Monastery in Azzio (Varese, Northern Italy) allowed us to discover a singular funerary practice of Franciscan friars. It consisted of a secondary burial practice.
    • Cain and Abel: Re-Imagining the Immigration ‘Crisis’

      Abi Doukhan (MDPI AG, 2020-03-01)
      This essay proposes to interpret the significance of the so-called immigration crisis in the light of the ancient story of Cain and Abel. Much more than a mere conflict between brothers, this essay will argue that the story of Cain and Abel presents two archetypal ways of dwelling in the world: the sedentary and the nomadic. As such, the story sheds a shocking new light on our present crisis, deeply problematizing the sedentary and revealing in an amazing <i>tour de force</i>, the hidden potentialities of the nomadic and the powerful rejuvenating force that comes with its inclusion and welcoming in the sedentary landscape that characterizes our Western societies.
    • Can Music “Mirror” God? A Theological-Hermeneutical Exploration of Music in the Light of Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel

      Maeve Louise Heaney (MDPI AG, 2014-04-01)
      A theological exploration of the potential of non-liturgical instrumental music for the transmission of religious Christian faith experience, based on a hermeneutical tool drawn from Jean-Jacques Nattiez as applied to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The article explores musical composition, reception, as well as the piece of music in itself, to discover common traits and keys to understanding its “meaning”, and relate it to current thought and development in theology; in particular to themes of creativity, theological aesthetics, the Ascension, the artistic vocation and meaning-making in contemporary culture, through music and films.
    • Can Religiosity Be Explained by ‘Brain Wiring’? An Analysis of US Adults’ Opinions

      Sharan Kaur Mehta; Christopher P. Scheitle; Elaine Howard Ecklund (MDPI AG, 2019-10-01)
      Studies examining how religion shapes individuals’ attitudes about science have focused heavily on a narrow range of topics, such as evolution. This study expands this literature by looking at how religion influences individuals’ attitudes towards the claim that neuroscience, or “brain wiring,” can explain differences in religiosity. Our analysis of nationally representative survey data shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that religiosity is negatively associated with thinking that brain wiring can explain religion. Net of religiosity, though, individuals reporting religious experiences are actually more likely to agree that brain wiring can explain religiosity, as are individuals belonging to diverse religious traditions when compared to the unaffiliated. We also find that belief in the general explanatory power of science is a significant predictor of thinking that religiosity can be explained by brain wiring, while women and the more highly educated are less likely to think this is true. Taken together, these findings have implications for our understanding of the relationship between religion and science, and the extent to which neuroscientific explanations of religiosity are embraced by the general US public.
    • Can Tantra Make a Mātā Middle-Class?: Jogaṇī Mātā, a Uniquely Gujarati Chinnamastā

      Darry Dinnell (MDPI AG, 2017-08-01)
      The Gujarati mātās, village goddesses traditionally popular among scheduled castes and often worshipped through rites of possession and animal sacrifice, have recently acquired Sanskritic Tantric resonances. The contemporary iconography of the goddess Jogaṇī Mātā, for instance, is virtually identical to that of the Mahāvidyā Chinnamastā. Yantra and mantra also feature prominently in Jogaṇī worship, which has begun to attract upwardly mobile urban middle-class devotees. Drawing on ethnography from three Jogaṇī sites in and around Ahmedabad, this paper identifies a tendency among worshippers and pūjārīs to acknowledge Jogaṇī’s tantric associations only to the extent that they instantiate a safe, Sanskritic, and Brahmanically-oriented Tantra. The appeal of these temples and shrines nonetheless remains the immediacy with which Jogaṇī can solve problems that are this-worldly, reminiscent of the link identified by Philip Lutgendorf between Tantra and modern Indians’ desire for ‘quick-fix’ religion. This research not only documents a rare regional iteration of Chinnamastā, but also speaks to the cachet that Tantra increasingly wields, consciously or unconsciously, within the burgeoning Gujarati and Indian urban middle-classes.
    • Can the Franciscan Legacy Be Decolonized or Decolonialized?

      Edward Foley (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
      Over the centuries, the dynamic and fluid charism labeled “Franciscanism” has evolved, changed and morphed well beyond the vision of St. Francis and St. Clare. There is ample evidence to suggest that, after Vatican II and its mandate for religious communities to renew themselves (<i>Perfectae caritatis</i>, nn. 2 et passim), Franciscans of various stripes have done just that. On the other hand, the majority of First Order friars in the world are yet clerics, often minister in diocesan settings (e.g., parishes), and frequently self-identify more as “Fr”. than “Br”. Recent developments in postcolonial and decolonial theory provide valuable lenses for discerning to what extent First Order Franciscans have actually recovered the founding charisms. While distinguished by genealogy, chronology and priorities—some argue that decolonization is about reasserting control of land and resources, while decolonialization is concerned with the epistemic control that continues long after foreign administrations have receded—these two frames are yet intimately linked. Together, they provide welcomed tools for discerning to what extent monasticized, clericalized and “diocesanized” stands of ministry, administration and thinking persist among First Order friars in the 21st century. This engagement with unexpected dialogue partners from critical theories, rather than with the more comfortable and traditional arenas of history and spirituality, promises fresh and maybe even unsettling insights about our enacted spirituality.
    • Can We Move Beyond the Secular State?

      Brenda Watson (MDPI AG, 2015-12-01)
      The article argues for re-consideration of the secularization so often in the West regarded as an essential condition for a democratic state. Its inbuilt incoherence and problematic consequences suggest that the term secular should be abandoned. Deep-seated reasons for objecting to such a proposal follow, discussing an affront to personal integrity, confronting intellectual apartheid and analysing abuse of religion. A way forward is suggested in learning to accept unavoidable levels of uncertainty, so that generous-minded dialogue can take the place of either/or thinking.
    • Candlelight for Our Country’s Right Name: A Confucian Interpretation of South Korea’s Candlelight Revolution

      Sungmoon Kim (MDPI AG, 2018-10-01)
      The candlelight protest that took place in South Korea from October 2016 to March 2017 was a landmark political event, not least because it ultimately led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Arguably, its more historically important meaning lies in the fact that it marks the first nation-wide political struggle since the June Uprising of 1987, where civil society won an unequivocal victory over a regime that was found to be corrupt, unjust, and undemocratic, making it the most orderly, civil, and peaceful political revolution in modern Korean history. Despite a plethora of literature investigating the cause of what is now called “the Candlelight Revolution” and its implications for Korean democracy, less attention has been paid to the cultural motivation and moral discourse that galvanized Korean civil society. This paper captures the Korean civil society which resulted in the Candlelight Revolution in terms of Confucian democratic civil society, distinct from both liberal pluralist civil society and Confucian meritocratic civil society, and argues that Confucian democratic civil society can provide a useful conceptual tool by which to not only philosophically construct a vision of civil society that is culturally relevant and politically practicable but also to critically evaluate the politics of civil society in the East Asian context.
    • Candlelight for Our Country’s Right Name: A Confucian Interpretation of South Korea’s Candlelight Revolution

      Sungmoon Kim (MDPI AG, 2018-10-01)
      The candlelight protest that took place in South Korea from October 2016 to March 2017 was a landmark political event, not least because it ultimately led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Arguably, its more historically important meaning lies in the fact that it marks the first nation-wide political struggle since the June Uprising of 1987, where civil society won an unequivocal victory over a regime that was found to be corrupt, unjust, and undemocratic, making it the most orderly, civil, and peaceful political revolution in modern Korean history. Despite a plethora of literature investigating the cause of what is now called “the Candlelight Revolution„ and its implications for Korean democracy, less attention has been paid to the cultural motivation and moral discourse that galvanized Korean civil society. This paper captures the Korean civil society which resulted in the Candlelight Revolution in terms of <i>Confucian democratic civil society</i>, distinct from both liberal pluralist civil society and Confucian meritocratic civil society, and argues that Confucian democratic civil society can provide a useful conceptual tool by which to not only philosophically construct a vision of civil society that is culturally relevant and politically practicable but also to critically evaluate the politics of civil society in the East Asian context.
    • Carceral Hermeneutics: Discovering the Bible in Prison and Prison in the Bible

      Sarah Jobe (MDPI AG, 2019-02-01)
      This essay introduces the concept of “carceral hermeneutics,„ the art of interpreting Scripture from within prisons as, or alongside, incarcerated persons. Reading the Bible in prison reframes the Bible as a whole, highlighting how the original sites of textual production were frequently sites of exile, prison, confinement, and control. Drawing on the work of Lauren F. Winner, the author explores the “characteristic damages„ of reading the Bible without attention to the carceral and suggests that physically re-locating the task of biblical interpretation can unmask interpretative damage and reveal alternative, life-giving readings. The essay concludes with an extended example, showing how the idea of cruciformity is a characteristically damaged reading that extracts Jesus’ execution from its carceral context. Carceral hermeneutics surfaces a Gospel counter-narrative in which Jesus flees violence and opts for his own safety. Jesus as a refugee (Matt 2), a fugitive (Matt 4:12⁻17), and a victim escaping violence (Luke 4:14⁻30) stand alongside Jesus as an executed person to offer a wider range of options for a “christoformity„ in which people can image God while fleeing from violence in order to preserve their own lives and freedom.
    • Care of the Common Good as a Responsibility of Business Leaders. Catholic Social Teaching Perspective

      Agnieszka Marek; Arkadiusz Jabłoński (MDPI AG, 2021-02-01)
      The aim of this article is to propose the adoption of a Catholic social teaching (CST) perspective as a universal approach to business ethics. We assume that the common good, as understood in CST, is an extension of the Aristotelian and Thomistic concepts of the organic relations between economics and ethics, which, prior to the Enlightment, was a basic rational way of management (oikonomia). We aim to show both the influence of religious ethics on the shape of economic life and the influence of the Catholic understanding of the common good on leadership. CST encourages business leaders to focus not only on the material, but also the transcendental aims of human work and life. From this perspective, the responsibility of a business leader can be understood as a practical realisation of the Commandment of Love and divided into three levels, each of which contributes to the common good. On the micro level, leaders are responsible for their own actions; on the mezzo level, they are responsible for the organisations they lead—especially for their employees—and on the macro level, they should be responsible for actions towards external stakeholders, which might ultimately be extended to the world as a whole. In this way, leaders can cooperate with God and contribute to the common good of their organisations, society, and humanity.
    • Carrying Hope; Pre-Registration Nursing Students’ Understanding and Awareness of Their Spiritual Needs from Their Experiences in Practice: A Grounded Theory Study

      Wendy Wigley (MDPI AG, 2017-12-01)
      Spirituality is integral to health and wellbeing and a fundamental element of nursing care. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that spirituality is a frequently ignored aspect of nursing education and care. From 2008 to 2010 a Glaserian grounded theory design was used to explore and explain pre-registration nursing students’ personal understanding of their own spirituality and the relationship between experiences in clinical practice and spiritual awareness. While there is evidence that examines relevance of providing spiritual care to service users, at that time, minimal research has been undertaken to examine spiritual needs in pre-registration nursing students. A theory of carrying hope emerged from the findings to explain how pre-registration nursing students resolve clinical experiences with spiritual awareness. The findings identified that pre-registration nursing students’ awareness of spirituality can be explained in three main Basic Social Processes (BSPs): struggling, safeguarding and seeking. This study highlights the extreme personal challenge pre-registration nursing students experience as a result of their experiences in clinical practice and the impact this has upon their spiritual awareness. Recommendations from this study include the implementation of a model of pastoral care for tutors to support spiritual needs of during transition from student to registration.
    • Catherine’s Icon: Pavel Filonov and the Orthodox World

      Nicoletta Misler; John E. Bowlt (MDPI AG, 2021-07-01)
      The authors discuss the Orthodox icon which Pavel Filonov (1883–1941) painted in 1908 or 1909 for his sister, Ekaterina, placing it within the broader context of his oeuvre, his family and his understanding of ‘religiosity’. Making reference to Filonov’s system of Analytical Art and to what he called ‘madness’, the authors focus on the particular technical devices which he used in the icon and on the <i>podlinnik</i> (or primer) from which he copied the main elements. Reference is also made to other religious motifs in Filonov’s art such as the Magi, Flight into Egypt and Crucifixion.
    • Catholic and Charismatic: A Study in Personality Theory within Catholic Congregations

      Leslie J Francis; Stephen H. Louden; Mandy Robbins (MDPI AG, 2013-04-01)
      This study set out to conceptualise and measure Charismatic orientation (openness to charismatic experience) and traditional Catholic orientation (Catholic identity) among a sample of 670 Catholic churchgoers in order to test whether attachment to Catholic Charismatic Renewal strengthened or weakened the sense of traditional Catholic identity among churchgoing Catholics. This research question was set within the broader consideration of the location of Charismatic orientation and Catholic orientation within Eysenck’s three dimensional model of personality. The data revealed a strong positive association between Charismatic experience and Catholic identity. Higher scores on the index of Charismatic orientation were associated with higher extraversion scores, with higher neuroticism scores, and with higher levels of mass attendance and personal prayer. Higher scores on the index of Catholic orientation were associated with being female, being older, higher neuroticism scores, and higher levels of mass attendance and personal prayer.
    • Catholic Cosmopolitanism and the Future of Human Rights

      Leonard Taylor (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
      Political Catholicism began in the 20th century by presenting a conception of confessional politics to a secularizing Europe. However, this article reveals the reworking of political Catholicism’s historical commitment to a balance of two powers—an ancient <i>Imperium</i> and <i>Sacerdotium</i>—to justify change to this position. A secular democratic faith became a key insight in political Catholicism in the 20th century, as it wedded human rights to an evolving cosmopolitan Catholicism and underlined the growth of Christian democracy. This article argues that the thesis of Christian democracy held a central post-war motif that there existed a <i>prisca theologia</i> or a <i>philosophia perennis</i>, semblances of a natural law, in secular modernity that could reshape the social compact of the modern project of democracy. However, as the Cold War ended, human rights became more secularized in keeping with trends across Europe. The relationship between political Catholicism and human rights reached a turning point, and this article asks if a cosmopolitan political Catholicism still interprets human rights as central to its embrace of the modern world.
    • Catholic Family Ties: Sustaining and Supporting HIV-Positive Canadian Gay Men’s Faith, Mental Health, and Wellbeing

      Renato M. Liboro (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
      Research has documented that sexual minorities and people living with HIV/AIDS have successfully used religious coping to help them overcome life challenges related to their sexual orientation and HIV status, including religious struggles surrounding their faith brought about by stigma and discrimination that have historically been promoted by organized religion. Research has also documented how sexual minorities and people living with HIV/AIDS have utilized family support as a vital resource for effectively coping with life challenges associated with homophobia, heterosexism, and HIV stigma, which have historically been perpetuated in certain family and faith dynamics. The aim of the community-engaged, qualitative study described in this article was to examine the synergistic effects of religious coping and family support, particularly in the context of Catholic family ties, as a unified mechanism for supporting HIV-positive gay men in the face of religious struggles and other life challenges. Confidential, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine HIV-positive, gay men from the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada, to obtain their perspectives on how and why their Catholic family ties have helped support them through their religious struggles and other life challenges. Utilizing a modified Grounded Theory approach, interview data were collected and analyzed until data saturation was achieved. The findings and lessons learned from the study’s analysis are discussed in this article, which elaborates on the unique synergy of religious coping and family support as interconnected mechanisms that could be of significant value for supporting HIV-positive gay men experiencing religious struggles and other life challenges.
    • Catholic Mediation in the Basque Peace Process: Questioning the Transnational Dimension

      Xabier Itçaina (MDPI AG, 2020-04-01)
      The Basque conflict was one of the last ethnonationalist violent struggles in Western Europe, until the self-dissolution in 2018 of ETA (<i>Euskadi ta Askatasuna</i>, Basque Country and Freedom). The role played by some sectors of the Roman Catholic Church in the mediation efforts leading to this positive outcome has long been underestimated, as has the internal pluralism of the Church in this regard. This article specifically examines the transnational dimension of this mediation, including its symbolic aspect. The call to involve the Catholic institution transnationally was not limited to the tangible outcomes of mediation. The mere fact of involving transnational religious <i>and</i> non-religious actors represented a symbolic gain for the parties in the conflict struggling to impose their definitions of peace. Transnational mediation conveyed in itself explicit or implicit comparisons with other ethnonationalist conflicts, a comparison that constituted political resources for or, conversely, unacceptable constraints upon the actors involved.
    • Catholic Social Teaching on Building a Just Society: The Need for a Ceiling and a Floor

      Kenneth Himes (MDPI AG, 2017-03-01)
      Msg. John A. Ryan was the leading voice for economic justice among American Catholics in the first half of the twentieth century. Although he was a champion of the proposal for a living wage to establish a minimum floor below which no worker might fall, Ryan gave little attention to whether there ought to be a ceiling to limit wealth among concentrated elites. I believe Ryan’s natural law methodology hindered a fuller vision of economic justice when addressing inequality. Contemporary Catholic social teaching, shaped by documents like Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes, has formulated a communitarian approach to justice that deals more adequately with the dangers of vast economic disparities. The essay concludes with a few ideas regarding how the post-conciliar outlook assists in rectifying the growing trend of economic inequality within American society.
    • Catholic Social Teaching, Theology, and Sociology: Exploring the Common Ground

      Vivencio Ballano (MDPI AG, 2019-09-01)
      Drawing on some secondary literature and using sociological perspectives, in this paper, I trace the fundamental conflict and differences between sociology and theology as academic disciplines and draw some implications on why the contributions of sociological inquiries and their empirical assessments of society and human behavior are seldom used in literature and learning materials on Catholic social teaching (CST)—a body of moral principles based on papal, conciliar, and other official Church documents on the Christian faith and social concerns. I argue that despite methodological and theoretical differences, sociology and CST’s moral theology can share a common ground in dealing with the social order: the moral theologizing of CST begins where sociologizing ends. Sociology is a necessary tool to reformulate CST’s Christian message to the constantly changing historical and social contexts and provide empirical illustrations to its moral teachings.
    • Catholicism and European Politics: Introducing Contemporary Dynamics

      Michael Daniel Driessen (MDPI AG, 2021-04-01)
      Recent research on political Catholicism in Europe has sought to theorize the ways in which Catholic politics, including Catholic political parties, political ideals, and political entrepreneurs, have survived and navigated in a post-secular political environment [...]