Documents on Interreligious Dialogue
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Jesuit Writing on Interreligious Dialogue

This is an anthology of writings on Interreligious Dialogue by individuals involved in Jesuit Apostolates:

Pope in Turkey Heals Wounds, Opens Dialogue’s Doors, Islam Expert Says
An Interview with Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J.

At the Crossroads: The Vatican's Next Step with Muslims
John Borelli

Indian Jesuit Agitates for Interreligious Understanding
William Bole

Dialogue Not Monologue: Benedict XVI & Religious Pluralism
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
This essay reviews essays by Cardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI – on religious pluralism, truth, and tolerance, collected in Many Religions (1998), which concentrates on Christian-Jewish relations, and Truth and Tolerance(2005) which deals more broadly with religious diversity. As test cases, the essay highlights examples the Cardinal draws from the Indian context. It also takes into account several documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including Dominus Iesus. This article appears in Commonweal: A Review of Religion, Politics and Culture, Volume CXXXII, Number 18, October 21, 2005.

I Am Evangelizing Christians
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
Frontline is a premier Indian fortnightly magazine of news and opinion, and it regularly carries religious news items regarding events in India and the West as well. When Frank Clooney was in Chennai this summer, Nandagopal R. Menon, a Frontline journalist who specializes in religious news, interviewed him about the rationale and substance of his many years of study of Hindu traditions.

Learning to Let Go: Francis Xavier, American Jesuits, and Religious Pluralism
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
The 450th anniversary of the death of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) provides us with an opportunity to reflect anew on mission and interreligious encounter as these developed in the first years of the Society of Jesus. As Francis X. Clooney, S.J., suggests in this reflection which appeared in National Jesuit News in December 2002, Xavier's example also challenges us to assess our way of proceeding as companions of Jesus in a world of pluralism: What do we need, and what do we need to let go of, in order to communicate effectively in the 21st century?

Some Bibliographical Resources for Jesuits in encounter with the world's religious traditions:
We list some basic bibliography comprised of "primary sources," Jesuit writings, premodern and contemporary, which exemplify the Jesuit encounter with other traditions. The list is not meant to be comprehensive, and we will list only a few secondary sources. We also welcome your suggestions for additions to the list.

Christianity in Japan. This site has a variety of articles, mostly by Jesuits, on the historical and theological interrelationship between Christianity and the people of Japan.

A Charism for Dialog: Advice from the Early Jesuit Missionaries in Our World of Religious Pluralism
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
For a generation Jesuits have recognized the importance of retrieving the original Ignatian and Jesuit charism in order to renew the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, formation, governance in the Society. Now that the Society (at the 34th General Congregation) has identified interreligious dialogue as a key component in our mission today, it is time to look back to the theory and practice of the early Jesuit missionaries to detect their charism for interreligious encounter, to learn from them, and also to identify unique features of our current situation. While there are numerous scholarly studies of the Jesuit encounters with other cultures in different parts of the world, it is not easy for the non-specialist to grasp essential features of the early Jesuit contribution in brief form, and few studies attempt to survey the global scene. In this work (Studies in Jesuit Spirituality, March 2002) Francis X. Clooney, S.J., turns to primary sources in order to reflect on some key features of the early Jesuit encounters (in the first 200 years of the Society) with other religious traditions in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Reflections on the American Jesuit Response to Our Mission and Interreligious Dialogue
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
In 1998 Frank Clooney became the Coordinator for the Jesuits of the United States of their initiative in regard to Mission and Interreligious Dialogue in response to the 1995 34th General Congregation . This 1998 report for the National Jesuit News was his first statement of the nature and goals of the initiative .

Report of the Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue: A Response
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
This brief essay responds to the Report on Dialogue written for the 1999 international meeting of Jesuit delegates in Rome in 1999.

Goddess in the Classroom: Is the Promotion of Religious Diversity a Dangerous Idea?
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
This essay was written for an issue of Conversations in Jesuit Higher Education (Fall 1999) commemorating the deaths of the six Jesuits, their cook and her daughter in El Salvador in 1989; the issue had the general title, Do Ideas have Dangerous Consequences? In this essay Frank Clooney puts forward the thesis that we are better off if we attend positively and attentively to the religious diversity that flourishes on Jesuit campuses today.

Dominus Iesus and the New Millennium
Francis X Clooney, S.J.
A key task of Jesuits involved in interreligious dialogue is to study, reflect on, and respond to documents which are issued by various offices of the Vatican. Here in repsonse to Dominus Iesus, a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we collect several recent reflections by the American Jesuits Francis X. Clooney, Michael A. Fahey, and Francis A Sullivan, and by Samuel Rayan from India and Aloysius Pieris from Sri Lanka.

Christ Among The Religions
Avery Dulles, S.J.
This article examines four models of interreligous activity and suggests that dialogue is indeed a sign of strength.

Am I My Sister's Keeper?
Michael A. Fahey, S.J.
A key task of Jesuits involved in interreligious dialogue is to study, reflect on, and respond to documents which are issued by various offices of the Vatican. Here in repsonse to Dominus Iesus, a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we collect several recent reflections by the American Jesuits Francis X. Clooney, Michael A. Fahey, and Francis A Sullivan, and by Samuel Rayan from India and Aloysius Pieris from Sri Lanka.

Papal Reflections: Benedict XVI’s Lecture at Regensburg
Rudolf C. Heredia, S.J.
Pope Benedict was to initiate an inter-religious dialogue on faith and religion, but the basic premise for an inter-religious conversation is that it must begin with a critique of one's own tradition.

The Gifts of Zen Buddhism
Robert E. Kennedy, S.J.

Robert E. Kennedy, S.J., is an American Catholic priest and a Zen master (Roshi). Ordained a priest in Japan in 1965, he was installed as a Zen teacher in 1991 and was given the title Roshi in 1997. Kennedy studied Zen with Yamada Roshi in Japan, Maezumi Roshi in Los Angeles and Bernard Glassman Roshi in New York. He is chairperson of the theology department of Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, N.J., where he teaches theology and the Japanese Language. In addition to his work at the college, he is a practicing psychotherapist in New York City, a representative at the United Nations of the Institute for Spiritual Consciousness in Politics and the author of two books, "Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit" and, forthcoming in November, 2000, "Zen Gifts to Christians." Kennedy Roshi sits with his Zen students daily at the Morning Star Zendo in Jersey City and with students in 12 other zendos located throughout the tri-state area. He conducts weekend and weeklong sesshins (Zen retreats) at various centers in the United States and in Mexico.

The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World
Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Fr. Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, spoke on October 5th, 2001, to the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the relationship between interreligious dialogue and the ministry of local bishops in the Church. According to Fr. Kolvenbach, the bishop has the opportunity to be a leader in the field of dialogue, and to help those in his diocese to engage in dialogue in fruitful ways.

The Service of Faith in a Religiously Pluralistic World
Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
This talk is a keynote address given by the Very Reverend Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus at Xavier University, October 3, 2006

Dialogue Today: A Certain Stubbornness.
James D. Redington, S.J.
This article, the text of a lecture at the Jesuit School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, California, explains how “stubbornness,” is a necessary aspect to interreligious dialogue.  “Stubbornness in dialogue, then, is our song.  Persistent in our tenderness, unyielding in our adaptability, obstinate in our friendship.”  The lecture opens with two powerful stories of people stubbornly remaining committed to interreligious dialogue in the face of immediate personal danger, in Jerusalem and in Algeria.  The idea of interreligious dialogue itself begins with a call to friendship, to love one’s neighbor, and to dialogue in various ways, and yet always to be honest to our dialogue partners, as described by Thomas Michel, SJ:  “What interreligious dialogue really means is how we how we relate to people who have no interest in becoming Christians.”

Interreligious Dialogue as Integral to the Jesuit Mission
James D. Redington, S.J.
Jim Redington, S.J., is Coordinator for Interreligious dialogue and senior fellow at the Woodstock Center in Washington, D.C. In this short essay Jim argues the case for the importance of dialogue as integral to the ministries of the Society of Jesus today.

A Conversation with Jim Redington, S.J.
James D. Redington, S.J.
The newest senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Father Redington arrived at Woodstock in August after having spent the past six years teaching young African Jesuits at Arrupe College in Harare, Zimbabwe. From 1978 to 1994, he was a professor in the Theology Department at Georgetown University. Jim entered the Jesuit seminary in 1962 and was ordained in the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in June of 1978. In this interview, Father James L. Connor, S.J., director of the Woodstock Center, speaks with Father Redington about his latest book, his interest in Hinduism and interreligious dialogue, and his plans for his research and work at Woodstock.

Theology of the In-Between: The Value of Syncretic Process
Carl Starkloff, S.J.
Marquette University Press, 2002. Syncretism is a word with anh ambivalent, not to say bizarre history. It originated with the Greek historian Plutarch as a descriptive noun for advantageous political alliances among the Cretan tribes. It was later adopted by the REnaissance humanist Erasmus to propose to other humanists a way for them to unite against barbarism. But in the seventeenth century some Protestant theologians, followed later by some Catholics, used it to describe unprincipled compromise with conflicting teachings. Since then, among Christians the word has signified theological distortion, although anthropologists have employed it neutrally to describe the phenomena of religious mixtures resulting from intercultural contacts. The present work seeks to "retrieve" the ancient meaning of syncretism, since the book's thesis is that such mixing grows out of a human desire for unity and wholeness. More, among oppressed tribal peoples, it is an attempt to understand and rationalize their situtation. While acknowledging that not all syncretism is good and that some cases, like Nazism, have been demonic, this book argues that "syncretic process" is a historical movement by which Christianity can understand itself better as a faith to be shared by all cultures. Thus, once again, theology becomes "faith seeking understanding." Note this this book is not available on the net but can be obtained from a library or purchased from the Press or Amazon.com.

As Different as Night and Day: The Ignatian Praesuppositio and Intercultural Conversation
Carl Starkloff, S.J.
This essay treats the Praesupposition not simply as a facilitating process for retreat direction, but for intercultural conversaton as well. This concept also applies to interfaith dialogue, since this too demands respect for the ideas and experiences of another, as well as the capacity to challenge the other gracefully, and to receive challenges as well.

After September 11, 2001: Whither Mission?
Carl Starkloff, S.J.
This essay looks at the role of religion and mission in light of the tragic events of September 11th. This article is electronically republished with the permission of In All Things: A Jesuit Journal of the Social Apostolate. You can also view the entire issue of the publication in which this article appeared and A Look at Mission: Evangelization and Social Justice -- Online Supplement. To receive your free subscription to In All Things, visit the site and go to subscription information.

Pilgrimage Re-Envisioned: Mission and Culture in the Last Five General Congregations.
Carl Starkloff, S.J.
This essay deals with the growth of mission "conscientization" in the Society of Jesus, as represented by its supreme governing body, the General Congregation. In the five most recent general congregations, there is a focus on reflective mission theory, especially in relation to cultural awareness. More especially, General Congregations 32 and 34 have introduced and developed the theory and practice of "inculturation", which in turn relates to issues of and tensions with interfaith dialogue. To set the scene for these topics, the article has an introductory section discussing issues and crises in mission today.

Covenant, Culture and Communion:Church as Model of The Multicultural Common Good
Carl Starkloff, S.J.
American individualism is represented not only in a personal but in a collective manner, in the form of ethnocentrism and cultural exclusivism. The Catholic Church employes a theology that emphasizes not only multicultural inclusivity but also a sacramentality of the "common good". But if the Church is to serve as such a sacrament (and therefore also a model) of the multicultural common good, it too must broaden its theology. liturgy, pastoral praxis, and catechetics in order to make its inclusivity manifest. Interreligious dialogue, although not itself aimed at bringing people into the Church, broadens the inclusive character of the Church and of its theology.

In Search of Ultimate Meaning In Arapaho Tradition and Contemporary Experience
Carl Starkloff, S.J.
Although this article begins in a context of mission and "inculturation", its content focuses on the deeper theological meanings of Arapaho religion in itself, and how to study such a religion. The central question is the time-honored one of "primitive monotheism" within aboriginal beliefs. Although it is generally conceded today that such a belief is impossible to retrieve, it is still profitable to trace the concepts that do exist in this people's vocabulary. The present essay looks for its resources in both literary and oral tradition. Topics dealt with here are ideas of the Supreme Being and of the Creator, and whether these two are necessarily the same. Other topics include cosmological concepts, worship and symbolism, "sin" and evil, and life after death. The article concludes with some interpetive observations. Its value for interfaith dialogue, one may hope, lies in its method of investigating a religion in its own cultural and linguistic contexts.

The Impact of Dominus Iesus on Ecumenism
Francis A. Sullivan, S.J.
A key task of Jesuits involved in interreligious dialogue is to study, reflect on, and respond to documents which are issued by various offices of the Vatican. Here in repsonse to Dominus Iesus, a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we collect several recent reflections by the American Jesuits Francis X. Clooney, Michael A. Fahey, and Francis A Sullivan, and by Samuel Rayan from India and Aloysius Pieris from Sri Lanka.

Changing Faces
Ann Thompson
Jesuit college and university campuses are becoming increasingly diverse culturally and religiously, and administrators, faculty, and students are taking notice. Ann Thompson, a freelance writer in Washington, D.C., explores the phenomenon in an article originally published in Company magazine.

Christian Responses to Muslim Questions
Christian W. Troll, S.J.
This is a link to a web based copy of Troll's book, Christian Responses to Muslim Questions. The website also documents ongoing discussions and questions on the topic of Muslim Christian relations. You can also download the entire book as a .pdf file.

Dialogue on Islamic Faith ain the Jesuit Environment
Seid M. Zekavat
In this article a Muslim reflects on Islam and his own positive experience as a professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. This text has bee electronically reproduced with permission of the editor of Conversations and originally appeared in their Fall 2002 issue (Number 22).

Documents from In All Things: A Jesuit Journal of the Social Apostolate

A Look at Mission: Evangelization and Social Justice Contents: After September 11, 2001: Whither Mission? Rev. Carl Starkloff, S.J. An introduction to the Jesuit mission/missiology, and how our view of it is challenged by the events of September 11; Asking Tough Questions: How Are Jesuits Being Trained for Missions? Rev. Joseph Daoust, S.J. A perspective from the Theologate “At Last, This Is Our Church:” A New Model of Mission to the Lakota Rev. John Hatcher, S.J. Challenging “the mission mentality:” becoming partners, not caretakers, of the Lakota people; Asking Tough Questions: How Are Jesuits Being Trained for Missions ? A Regent’s perspective Zachary Dziedzic, S.J.; Forming Lay Missionaries: JVI as a “Novitiate For Life” John Sealey and Rev. Vincent DeCola, S.J. The two outgoing leaders of JVI discuss a new model for lay missionaries. This publication is electronically republished with the permission of In All Things: A Jesuit Journal of the Social Apostolate. To receive your free subscription to In All Things, visit the site and go to subscription information.

A Look at Mission: Evangelization and Social Justice -- Online Supplement Contents: Growth and Development of Social Action in Patna Province Rev. Jerry Drinane, S.J.; A Thriving Endeavor: Reflections on India's Jamshedpur Mission Rev. James Keogh, S.J.; Seven Years in Zimbabwe Rev. Stephen C. Rowntree, S.J.; Thoughts on Community Life Reflections Rev. Peter-Hans Kovenbach, S.J. This publication is electronically republished with the permission of In All Things: A Jesuit Journal of the Social Apostolate. To receive your free subscription to In All Things, visit the site and go to subscription information.


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