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Welcome to Studies

Welcome to this newly re-launched website of Studies, now in its 104th year. Studies is a publication of the Irish Jesuits, which has appeared without a break since spring 1912, when Ireland and the world were very different places. Throughout the past hundred years we have sought to examine a wide range of Irish issues, social, political, cultural, and economic, in the light of Christian values, and to explore the Irish dimension in literature, history, philosophy and religion. This continues to be our purpose in the twenty-first century.

A brief survey of topics taken up in recent issues may give a sense of the wide range of our interests and concerns: ‘What would happen if the EU broke up?’ (Spring 2013); ‘Asylum seekers in our Republic: why have we gone wrong?’ (Summer 2013); ‘The heart of a Jesuit Pope: Francis in dialogue’ (Autumn 2013); ‘Revisiting the Murphy Report’ (Winter 2013); ‘Changing Ireland’ (Spring 2014); ‘Imagined community: Irish identities’ (Summer 2014); ‘Religious freedom in the 21st century’ (Autumn 2014); ‘The Jesuits in Ireland before and after the Suppression’ (Winter 2014).

The Summer 2015 focused on the First World War, with essays on transgressive violence in the war and on the part played by Fr Willie Doyle and other Irish Jesuit chaplains. This Autumn 2015 issue discusses Pope Francis and the Synod on the Family which contains Reflections on the Forthcoming Synod by Breda O'Brien. Desmond Fennell questions Can the Neo-Liberal Regime Endure? while Conall Gibbons reviews Caroline O' Nolans social portrait on the Irish District court. 

On this website you will find further information about past issues and how to subscribe to the journal. There is also information for prospective contributors. Contact can be made with us through the website address. We warmly welcome your comments and your continuing interest in Studies

Editorial Autumn 2015

This issue of Studies is largely focused on the forthcoming Synod of the Catholic Church on the family or, to give it its full title,  The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World. This takes place in October and, because of the very high expectations Pope Francis’ papacy has aroused in many quarters and of the overwhelming importance of the subject – or range of family-related subjects, since this is in fact what is involved, pace tabloid simplifications – the Synod proposes to treat, its deliberations are being eagerly (or, perhaps in some quarters, anxiously) awaited. 

In what follows, five writers place the Synod in context in different ways. Finola Kennedy highlights the ‘difficult task’ given by the Pope to the bishops. Part of the difficulty, not least in Ireland, is the rapidly changing picture of family and marriage, for which she supplies an array of striking statistics. But the task is also challenging because of the way in which they are asked to address it. In the Lineamente or Guidelines, produced after last autumn’s Extraordinary Synod, preparing the way for this Ordinary Synod, they have been asked ‘to avoid, in their responses, a formulation of pastoral care based simply on an application of doctrine’. Finding genuinely pastoral solutions will be far from easy and, as Dr Kennedy emphasises, ‘Pope Francis seems to be asking for more than mere cerebral thinking’. The bishops, she suggests, ‘could follow the example of Mary who ‘pondered these things in her heart’ (Luke 2,52).  

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