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NATIONAL JESUIT NEWS
Members of the Committee for Interreligious Dialogue and others have written short articles for the National Jesuit News on interreligious dialogue. These pieces are reproduced here with full copyright permission granted by the National Jesuit News.
NJN has provided a superb service, especially sympathetic to the Society’s obligation to interreligious dialogue. “Our mission of faith and justice, dialogue of religions and cultures has acquired dimensions that no longer allow us to conceive of the world as composed of separate entities; we must see it as a unified whole in which we depend on one another.” This GC 35 consensus applies in principle to all Jesuit works and to all who carry the Ignatian charism.
Through a regular column, Jesuits and their collaborators have addressed an array of topics under “Jesuits and Interreligious Dialogue.” Almost 50 articles, these columns and special articles, in the past six years are preserved on the website, Jesuit Interreligious Dialogue and Mission (http://groups.creighton.edu/sjdialogue/) . If you forget, search “Jesuit interreligious dialogue” and you will quickly find our website at Creighton University, thanks to Ray Bucko. There the work continues in earnest to accommodate the shift from print to electronic media. We will make the website an even better resource for pastors, professors, high school educators, students, Jesuits and collaborators and all who seek what may well be the guiding feature of this century—interreligious understanding.
John Borelli, Georgetown University, is national coordinator for interreligious dialogue and relations for the Jesuit Conference. Writtin in the final issue of the National Jesuit News - September 2009.
Recent Crisis in Catholic-Jewish Dialouge (September 2009)
Michael Amaladoss, S.J.
Dia-logue or Tri-logue? Restoring God to Dialogue (June 2009)
President Obama and Muslims (March 2009)
Phil Cooke, S.J.
Belief and Ministrty on the Pine Ridge (March 2009)
The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures at a JesuitUniversity (January 2009)
Frontiers of Dialogue for Discovery and Renewal at a Jesuit University (November 2008)
Mary Ann Wallace
Engaging Religious Diversity at the High School Level (June 2008)
Pope Affirms Jesuit Mission of Bridging Faith and Culture (April/May 2008)
A Common Word BetweenUs: Reflections of a Muslim Faculty Member at a Jesuit University (April/May 2008)
Daniel A Madigan, S.J.
The Election of a New General and Our Mission of Interreligious Dialogue (February/March 2008)
James Reites SJ and Philip Riley
Promoting Local Interfaith Relations in the Silicon Valley (February/March 2008)
Peter Klink, S.J.
The Dialogue of Experience: Reflections on Good Friday at Pine Ridge (December 2007)
John K Ridgeway, S.J.
Visions of Chiefs Shining Shirt and CirclingRaven: “So Great a Cloud of Witnesses” (December 2007)
MuslimsAppeal for Theological Basis for Dialoguewith Christians: ACommonWorld Between Us and You (December 2007)
Ifran A Omar
The Return of “A CommonWord” (December 2007)
Patrick J Ryan, S.J.
A Most Uncommon Word (December 2007)
Patrick Twohy, S.J.
Indian Peoples and Jesuits in the PacificNorthwest: Enduring Dreams in Changing Contexts (November 2007)
Interreligious Dialouge: What's Ignatian About It? (October 2007)
John Borelli describes a gathering of Jesuits at Georgetown Universitywho are active internationally in the ministry of interreligious dialogue with Jews and/or Muslims. The group explored the connections between Ignatius’ and Ignatian ways of proceeding relating these procedures to interreligious dialogue. They considered these “ways” both historically and contemporarily. They identified and explored several aspects of their experience with interreligious dialogue that are decidedly Ignatian, including relating the set of ideal behaviors Ignatius of Loyola gave to Jesuits participating in the Council of Trent to their own work.
James D Redington, S.J.
Teaching Dialouge: From Berkeley to Borobudur, via Bangalore (June 2007)
Jim Redington describes some of his approaches to teaching interreligious dialogue as a professor at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (JSTB.edu). He describes four different types of courses – three of which are very experiential. Two of these are immersion programs have been generously sponsored by the Luce Foundation and the Lilly Foundation. These popular programs, to Indonesia and to India , offer hands-on intercultural as well as interreligious experiences to major non-Western world religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Redington also describes two courses, which he regularly teaches at JSTB – Interreligious Dialogue , which includes a large number of shorter immersion type experiences in the local area – and the more academic Theology of Religions .
Jesuits in Interreligious Dialogue (April - May 2007)
Carol Corgan, instructor of religion and social justice at Gonzaga College High School, in Washington, D.C., describes her experience as a high-school educator responding to the events of September 11, 2001. She explains how the religious diversity of our country affects her students, and gives examples of how they respond to this diversity – as well as the social justice curriculum of Gonzaga. Finally, she argues that the Jesuit ideal of forming People for Others, necessarily includes the reverencing of Christ found within all Others’ religious traditions.
Jonathan Yun-ka Tan
Mission Among the Peoples: A Lesson from the Church in Asia (December 2006 - January 2007)
Jonathan Yun-ka Tan supports the understanding that Christian missionary ideals are transitioning from that of missio ad gentes, to that of mission inter gentes. Though this terminology was newly introduced by William Burrows, editor of Orbis Books, Mr. Tan explains how this approach has been at work within Asia for several decades. He supports his points through statements of the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences’ plenary sessions from 1974 to 2000.
A Contemporary Muslim View from a North American Jesuit Campus (November 2006)
With Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks at Regensburg in the background, Amir Hussain, a professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University at Los Angeles, offers his personal reflection on Muslim and Christian interfaith dialogue. By example, he shows how religious symbols can help establish mutual understanding, as well as misunderstanding. Regarding Benedict’s remarks at Regensburg, Hussain broadens the discussion by arguing against the commonly held idea that “Islam was spread by the sword,” as well as by explaining the “common intellectual heritage shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims.”
Dialogue and Prayer: Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Assisi Day of Prayer (October 2006)
John Borelli describes the significant change in the Catholic Church’s understanding of, desire for and practice of ecumenism and interfaith relations over the last century. The stirring of this change are traced to two Jesuits – Robert de Nobili and Matteo Ricci -- whose interfaith work in the 16th and 17th centuries brought them criticism and controversy. The Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism officially turned the Church ecumenism; subsequent documents spoke about relations with other religions. John Paul II put this into practice through the 1986 World Day of Prayer for Peace, in Assisi. Major interreligious strides towards peace and unity were made through this event; these were followed on by other Days of Prayer for Peace in 1993 and 2002.
Jeannine Hill Fletcher
Women Expanding the Possibilities in Dialogue (June 2006)
Dr. Fletcher of Fordham challenges the reader to a wider vision of interreligious dialogue, towards a more intentional inclusion of women in leadership and higher-profile roles. She offers useful examples of the contributions of women not only to ecclesial or theological interfaith engagement, but also their contribution to the dialogue of daily life through interaction with people of other faith traditions. Dr. Fletcher also reminds us that, given the "patriarchical privileges" by which most faith traditions have excluded or limited women's voices and actions, the intentional inclusion of women in interreligious dialogue is an act of justice.
The Limits of Interreligious Dialogue (April/May 2006)
Catherine Cornille discusses the importance and value of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as well as her concerns over the recent reassignment of it leader, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, without the naming of a successor. Cornille describes several predispositions necessary to both remains solidly committed to one’s own religious tradition and also be in dialogue with other religions: humility, openness, an interconnected communality, empathy, and the willingness to find truth in other religions. These predispositions are not native to interreligious dialogue and thus need to be fostered at all levels, including that of the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue itself.
Patrick J Ryan, S.J. (February/March 2006)
What I Learned from the Yoruba
Patrick Ryan reflects on his experience with the Yoruba people with whom he lived and taught in Nigeria. About half of Yoruba are Muslim and half are Christian, and most Yoruba families include both Muslims and Christians. Ryan expresses the positive ways in which the Muslim and Christian Yoruba get along and thrive through a commitment to living together through forming amicable compromises as a solution to differences. They don’t just tolerate each other, but mutually share in key moments of sorrow and joy – funerals, baptisms, naming ceremonies, and other religious celebrations and festivals. He cites these positive experiences as motivating his continuing commitment to act in solidarity, because “The more we share each other’s joys and sorrows, the less likely we are to give into the hatred that surrounds us.”
Leo D Lefebure (December 2005 - January 2006)
Christians and Muslims: An Ambivalent Relationship
Leo Lefebure, a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese, offers a brief summary of how historical Muslim-Christian relationships have varied, from deep mistrust and animosity, to dialogue, mutual respect and friendship. Lefebure explains that even at its most fruitful moments in the past and present, there remain lingering questions and doubts of Islam’s place in the Christian concept of heaven and salvation. Though Muslim-Christian dialogue and relationships have benefited greatly from Vatican II’s call for both Muslims and Christians to “train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding” in the service of social justice, immense challenges remain.
Carl Starkloff, S.J. (November 2005)
Mission and Dialogue
Carl Starkloff explains how he has come to his own understanding of “inclusive pluralism” as a way to enter into interreligious dialogue. It is a way of remaining rooted in and faithful to one’s own religious tradition, and also of celebrating the plurality of religions in our world today, each of which “must be true to its essential teachings, which include a type of universal way of salvation.” The idea of proclaiming one’s faith is always in tension with the needs of true dialogue: the openness to learning from another religion, with the possibility of finding one’s own spiritual practice or understanding of “truth” could be changed by the encounter – “the way of interreligious dialogue is one of deep spiritual and intellectual challenges.”
John Borelli (October 2005)
Tracing the Contemporary Roots of Interreligious Dialogue
John Borelli presents a helpful background summary of the development and promulgation of Nostra Aetate, “The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” which was written by the Jesuit, Augustin Cardinal Bea during the Second Vatican Council. He suggests ways in which Nostra Aetate, now at its 40th anniversary, continues to be relevant and important in our contemporary, post 9/11 world.
James Bernauer, S.J. (June 2005)
Jewish According to the Flesh
In advance of a conference, “The Importance of Modern Jewish Thought for Christian-Jewish Dialogue,” to be held in Switzerland in July 2006, and the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 2006, James Bernauer reflects on the remarkable transformation of relations between Jews and Christians in the past 40 years since Vatican II. Consonant with Pope John Paul’s millennial statement of regret and apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s persecution of Jews in times past, Bernauer also calls on the Society of Jesus to consider making a statement of regret and action of repentance for its own anti-Semitic past.
Joe Palmisano, S.J. (April / May 2005)
Young, Jamaican and Muslim: Receiving Others with Tenderness and Mercy
Joe Palmisano was a Regent at Campion College, Kingston, Jamaica during 2003-2005. Joe writes about the experience of Campion College and the Catholic community in Jamaica, working in education and social outreach, and their efforts to build peaceful space for dialogue in Jamaica, where violence seems to scale new heights. He highlights an interview he conducted with Mehar, a Muslim student at Campion, asking how her Jesuit education at Campion has prepared her to help society; he also solicits Mehar’s suggestions for Campion’s religious education program regarding interreligious dialogue and openness.
Daniel Hendrickson, S.J. (February / March 2005)John Borelli (December 2004 / January 2005)
My Swami Said So
Looking first at the three truths of Swami Vivekananda’s Vendanta Society, the article focuses upon the dimension of divine presence in human life and places it in conversation with Emmanuel Levinas’ ethical response to the other. It proceeds to discuss two goods of Christian missiology, evangelization of the Gospel and basic education, and ponders which of the two is more respectful of cultural and religious distinction. The article suggests that the work of inter-religious dialogue can learn something of Levinas’ perspective of the other whereby Christians both cherish difference and extend charitable care to those in need.
Ecumenical andInterreligious - one Church, one mission, One World and Two Sets of Friendships
John Borelli offers a thoughtful chronology of the Catholic Church’s writings, teachings and work for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. He identifies and connects the various decrees and declarations related to ecumenism and interreligious relations. In addition to explaining the way in which ecumenism differs from interreligious dialogue, he explains the special status of Christian Jewish dialogue that makes it unique from dialogue with other religions.
William Haardt (November 2004)
Walking a Buddhist-Christian Path at St. Ignatius College Prep
William Haardt, a world religions teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco describes his religious awakening as a Roman Catholic which is connected to his study of Hinduism and Buddhism and practice of Buddhist meditation. This journey continues into the classroom, where he challenges his students to encounter other religious traditions in prayer, particularly with meditation and contemplative prayer, and in a greater understanding of how much in common their own religious tradition has with other traditions.
Francis X Clooney, S.J. (October 2004)
How are Christian and Interfaith Wisdom Practiced?
Frank Clooney shares his experience of officiating at interfaith marriage ceremonies as “one of the most important occasions where Christian and interfaith wisdom is required in practice.” He describes two different situations in which he was called to support the marrying couple in fashioning their ceremonies, focusing on inclusiveness, complementarity and mutual enrichment through the holistic use of symbolic acts, prayers and language. Accompanying the couple and their family in planning the ceremony is also an opportunity to help them to discern how “married life might be most healthily sacramentalized as humanly good, religiously diverse, yet consonant with Christian and ecclesial values.”
Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski (June 2004)
Next Wave of Comparative Theology Will Be a Tapestry
Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski reflects on the March 2004 “Engaging Particularities” conference at Boston College. He is impressed with the presentations by theology graduate students as a “tapestry” of diversity and openness, identifying four threads: 1) their natural openness and freedom in dialogue; 2) the diversity of the students themselves in religious traditions, cultural and ethnic history, gender, and variety of academic disciplines; 3) that their interests was not simply academic, but also considered the practical implications of their work; and 4) that their work of engagement and dialogue with other religious traditions helped enlighten their own beliefs.
Peggy Crawford (April / May 2004)
How does inter-religious dialogue in a Jesuit high school work?
Peggy Crawford explains the ways in which Brebeuf, a “Jesuit, Catholic and Interfaith” High School, fosters an environment that actively welcomes students and faculty of all faith traditions, and encourages interreligious dialogue in all aspects of education. Their pedagogy is interfaith in all dimensions of the four-year program: in all four years of religious studies; other academic disciplines; community service; campus ministry; and retreat programs.
Tracy Pintchman (February / March 2004)
Not either this or that, but always this and that - Tracy Pintchman describes her life’s work: studying Sanskrit and Hinduism; researching Hindu women's ritual worship of the deity Krishna; living at times in the holy city of Varanasi, India; and teaching in the theology department of Loyola University, Chicago. Through surprising struggles and blessings, she summarizes her experiences as transformative, concluding that “human identity is always, to a greater or lesser extent, shaped by multiple currents ebbing and flowing and merging finally into our own person and story.”
James T. Bretzke S.J. (December 2003 / January 2004)
Conversion to Interreligious Dialogue: a duty within the Church's mission - James Bretzke explains that interreligious dialogue begins with conversion, or metanoia, of our own starting point: from assuming that “we” have the whole and absolute truth to openness in a “mutual search for the splendor of the truth.” He also shares his own experiences as a Jesuit sent on mission to Korea and Rome, which includes engaging with people of Asian philosophical and theological traditions, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shamanism.
Joseph A. Bracken S.J. (December 2003 / January 2004)
Making friends with real life representatives of world religions - Joe Bracken reflects on his long-term experience working with people of other religious traditions, and the valuable outcome for himself – the friendships that result from direct contact with these people. He chronicles his personal growth in consciousness about and commitment to interreligious dialogue, as well as Xavier University's growing institutional commitment to dialouge.
Raymond A Bucko, S.J. (October 2003)
Finding common ground, not fundamental opposition - Ray. Bucko describes and interprets his experiences with the Lakota community of the Pine Ridge Reservation, during the time when he researched the sweat lodge rituals. More than just finding common ground, Fr. Bucko made friendships of honest mutuality and trust. While accomplishing his field research he learns that “ultimately dialogue is about human relations, equality, respect, mutual curiosity and willingness to both listen and speak.”
Francis Clooney, S.J. (December 2002 / January 2003)
Learning to Let Go: Francis Xavier, American Jesuits, and Religious Pluralism - When Francis Xavier returned to Yamaguchi, Japan in 1552, he gave up wearing beggar's clothing in order to preach Christ poor. Instead he adapted himself to Japanese expectations for him as a foreigner with an important message by using local court dress and behavior . He also began to study and appreciate Japanese cultural and religious concepts. His example provides us a model of interreligious adaptation which has been successfully applied by Jesuit missionaries through the centuries.
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