Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tetter-totter, Religous Indifferentism Or Error Has No Rights

Yoga Guru B.K.S. Iyengar
“What does the existence of other religions mean for a Christian (or any believer)?” Inter-religious questions – of relations, of theology, of dialogue – are important from beginning to end of the course in authors like Paul Knitter, Francis Clooney, Michael von Bruck and the Dalai Lama. The liveliest and most productive action is intra-Christian questioning, for example in 2004, when a bright, pastorally sensitive Evangelical chaplain traded insights and challenges with five Catholics, a Protestant and a Unitarian, with students of other religions looking on in wonder. Many of the questions had to do with Knitter’s “teeter-totter” (“Introducing Theologies of Religions”), balancing the Christian tension between God’s desire to save all people and the uniqueness and necessity for salvation of Jesus and the Church. When one side is up, the other seems down; yet both have their truth. This tension does not seem to go away. Finally, there was this past January’s joyful and fruitful immersion course, our third in India. Though we were unable to meet with the brilliant Hindu guru with whom I study in Mumbai, our luck was incredibly good. We had fortunate encounters with Fr. Placido Fonseca (BOM), the genius for 30 years behind Snehasadan, the street kids’ turnaround project; Dr. B.K.S. Iyengar, the world’s greatest Yoga master, at his institute in Pune; and Gurunath, our driver to the Buddhist and Hindu caves at Ajanta and Ellora, who turned out to be the very embodiment of a Hindu lover of God. We clapped along with his tape player’s Marathi language songs to God Vitthal! Lectures on Hinduism and the Christian theology of the oppressed (Dalit) peoples were frequent and helpful, but we will remember more the lively activists of Vimochana Women’s Centre in Bangalore, Dona Fernandes and Madhu. Veteran leaders of demonstrations since 1979, they are young enough to speak tirelessly and hopefully against domestic abuse and discrimination against women. Our students visited a school and village of Dalit people, Anekal, in which Fr. Anil D’Mello (KAR) and his assistants were making intelligent and courageous initiatives. We visited St. Thomas the Apostle’s tomb and the great Hindu temples in Madras and celebrated St. Sebastian’s big feast near Cochin, with descendants of St. Thomas’ Christians. The outstanding theologian, Fr.Michael Amaladoss, S.J. (MDU), spoke with us, and we wrote about dialogues with Hindus and Sikhs, Indian Christian Liturgy,and the interplay of religion and culture.
Link (here) to the full piece at originally at National Jesuit News by Fr. James Redington, S.J.
Link (here) to Catholic Culture's critique of the piece entitled, "religious indifferentism"
Pope Leo XIII's encyclical "Libertas" (here) What is " Error Has No Rights" (here) 


Anonymous said...

This one seems easy enough to solve or am I missing something?

The hierarchical line of authority goes from these Jesuits to a Jesuit Provincial in California, to the Superior General in Rome, to the Pope. Is there something we don't understand that makes what they are doing acceptable and desirable for the Catholic Church? If not, why are they allowed to preach, teach and otherwise represent the Catholic Church?

At morning mass today the local priest devoted the homily to defending Islam and its 'culture of life' (except for the terrorists he said). He praised how they venerate Mary just like the Catholics (or one could add, like the Hindus venerate their goddess Kali) and expressed his pleasure that a Catholic he knew had married a Muslim and would now live according to the Koran. He explained how the Koran was their holy book just like rosaries, crucifixes and bibles are for Catholics. He did not once note that ours was the true religion, relativistically suggesting it was just true for us.

Instead he finished by adding how John Paul II had supposedly apologized to Islam for Christianity's sins. The local Catholics had to gulp down this inter-religious homily on the equality of religions just before asking God to accept the sacrifice on the altar, and communing with whom they profess and Islam denies, is God, as they did. I thought it was sacrilegious and left.

We should of course promote inter-religious dialogue and peace, but perhaps some of our priests need inter religious education. In addition, Christ's parting mandate was to take the gospel to all nations, not what I saw today.

Just what is the faith of the priests in these cases? It cannot be authentically Roman Catholic while preaching or implying that other religions are equally valid.

Bishops need to insure that Catholics are not pressured into deeply disturbing liturgical situations like the ones here described.


Anonymous said...

Joseph --I posted some quotes from "Reflections On Saying Mass (And Saying It Correctly)" by James V. Schall, S. J. , but they have been removed. I don't understand. Why were they removed?


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