In this period of generalized secularization, it is not only seminaries and convents that are closing, journals are also closing, such as Choisir (Choice), the cultural journal of the Jesuits of the French-speaking areas of Switzerland.
As they announced last year, the people in charge of Choisir ended its publication on December 31. This disappearance, after 63 years, is indicative of a conciliar Catholicism in decline. Editor-in-chief since 2007, Lucienne Bittar admits that it is “a hard blow,” noting that “the surge of creativity and dynamism which followed Vatican II is stagnating.”
Created in November 1959, three years before the Second Vatican Council, Choisir was part of the new theology movement. One could find in it the signatures of Yves Congar, Gabriel Marcel, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac, Jean Daniélou, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Michel de Certeau, et. al., important actors of the conciliar and post-conciliar period.
Fr. Pierre Emonet S.J., director of the publication, in cath.ch on November 4, 2022, admitted to having clashes with the ecclesiastical authorities: “The guardians of the institution who expected Choisir to be ‘the voice of its master,’ meaning the ecclesiastical authorities of Freiburg.”
“While they were waiting for from Choisir was a teaching well embedded in the philosophical-theological tradition honored in Fribourg, and then the Jesuits, listening to a changing world, offered a kaleidoscope of opinions and disconcerting movements of novelty.”
Further, he admits: “Religious freedom, the role of the priesthood, ecumenism, mixed marriages, interreligious dialogue, sexual morality, abortion, homosexuality, the promotion of women, social injustice, Marxist analysis, capitalism have fueled passionate debates and provided subject matter made for provocative pages.”
The Jesuit notes an evolution of the themes of reflection: “Over time the points of attention have evolved. Ecology, bioethics, social justice, North-South development, assisted suicide, famine in the world, migratory movements, asylum, the poor distribution of wealth or the challenges of scientific research have invited readers to look more broadly beyond institutional borders.”
With, however, a strong ecumenical constant: “Ecumenism is part of the DNA of Choisir, he says. Collaboration with Protestant theologians and pastors was one of the major features of the journal's contents. Collaborations of choice both on the Catholic side and on the Reformation side. Theological ecumenism is also reflected in practice with the founding of the AOT (Ecumenical Theological Workshop) in 1973.”
It is on these ideas that were very marked by the post-conciliar current that the curtain falls today. Choisir no longer had a choice, the March 2022 press release – in the form of a death announcement – clearly announced: of the Society of Jesus has put an end to its publication.