Thursday, April 25, 2013
by Omid Safi
for World Parliament of Religions
Here are ten basic points that we would all do well to keep in mind as we try to make sense of a world that seems to be in need of sanity and compassion.
1) Those who know the suspects best say that this had nothing to do with being Chechen, or with Islam.
Ruslan Tsarni, the suspects’ uncles, went to meet the national media, and gave a powerful, honest, and passionate presentation. He encouraged his nephew, Dzhokhar, to turn himself in. He also called his own nephews “losers,” andstated that this atrocity had nothing to do with being Chechen or Islam. Tsarni spoke powerfully about his love for America, and how silly it is to associate this crime with an ethnicity or religion. Tsarni also encouraged Dzhokhar to beg his victims for forgiveness.
2) The experts you see on TV opining on Chechnya and the Chechen people do not know anything about Chechnya.
Chechnya is a fairly remote region. There are few people on TV with actual expertise about Chechnya. Most of these “instant experts” go to Wikipedia to get their information. Because of the 24-hour news media, we now have created a cult of instant experts who need to be able to fill the airways now about Iraq, now about Afghanistan, now about Chechnya, without necessarily having set foot on these places, knowing their languages, their history, or spoken with their peoples. Complex geo-political realities are collapsed into cliché tropes of “jihad” and “terrorism.” The late Edward Said made this same point 30 years ago for the first time. It is even more true today with social media and the fake experts paraded on Fox and elsewhere. MORE>>>>
Monday, March 25, 2013
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. (Isaiah 42:7)
The Xaverian Missionaries are working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the early 1960's. The concern and solidarity of our missionaries and of the local Church there in the terrible years of war, whose vestiges of violence and instability continue to the present day. Hope dawned recently when The Democratic Republic of Congo’s war lord, General Bosco Ntaganda, surrendered himself to the US Embassy in Rwanda. He had asked to be transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda’s first appearance before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on March 26, 2013, will be a major achievement on the path to ending human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Human Rights Watch said today. Ntaganda was flown to The Hague on March 22 after he unexpectedly and for unknown reasons surrendered to the United States embassy in Kigali, Rwanda on March 18 and requested transfer to the ICC.
Ntaganda’s appearance before the ICC comes almost seven years after the court first issued an arrest warrant against him for war crimes in the Ituri district of northeastern Congo. For years Ntaganda led rebel and government forces involved in killings, rape, torture, use of child soldiers, and pillage. MORE>>>
Please pray for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the victims Bosco Ntaganda. Thankful for justice we pray for real peace and healing.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
By Fr. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
Board Trustee, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions
Benedict XVI’s papacy has been marked by ups and downs. There was more than one colossal “faux pas” (.e.g the Regensburg speech) with regard to Muslims (and the Bishop Williamson affair). Overall, however, Benedict generally kept intact the inter-religious thrust of the Catholic Church generated by Vatican II But he did not do much to advance that thrust beyond his predecessor John Paul II.
If (and that remains a big “if”) the new Pope wishes to move inter-religious relations to a new level I see three interrelated challenges before him. The first will be how to handle the strong emphasis on evangelization and dialogue that has been a central of the past several years of Benedict XVI’s time in office. In my mind few Catholic leaders have really struggled with the question, “can you mount an evangelization campaign and still remain committed to inter-religious relations?” Doesn't such an evangelization outreach place “the other” on unequal footing from the Catholic perspective? And doesn't authentic dialogue require some affirmation of the coequal status of your dialogue partner?
Cardinal Turan who heads the Congregation for Inter-religious Relations within the Vatican has spoken of an equality of religious persons but not an equality of religious traditions. Does this resolve the issue? While I see it as a somewhat positive step in the evolution of Catholic thinking it remains something less than a fully adequate response.
The Vatican, through its Congregations for Evangelization and Interreligious Dialogue, released a statement in 1991 trying to address the tension between the two aspects of Catholic religious commitment. This document went through numerous drafts, the final version being somewhat less satisfactory than some of the initial drafts. The late Catholic inter-religious pioneer Jacques Dupuis, SJ, as well as the interreligious leader at Georgetown University, Dr. John Porelli, have both found this document as not ultimately resolving the tension between dialogue and proclamation/evangelization. The new Pope will have to decide whether he wants to pursue some further resolution or simply pursue the evangelization card without much regard for the implications for inter-religious relations.
With respect to Catholic-Jewish relations, for example, the new Pope will have to decide whether he will take seriously Cardinal Walter Kasper’s contention that Jews have authentic revelation and remain in the covenant, hence not a community that needs to be proselytize. The issue of evangelization remains a continuing source of tension in most of the other relationships the Catholic Church has with other religions.
The second challenge is whether the Catholic Church truly believe it has some new insights to gain for its own religious self-understanding from inter-religious dialogue. Dialogue ought to be an experience of faith sharing leading to mutual learning. But the thrust of a document such as DOMINUS IESUS released by the Congregation for Sacred Doctrine under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger seems to deny that Catholicism has anything to learn from inter-religious exchanges. It is fully complete as it now stands. Such a perspective, if it dominates, does not create much enthusiasm for dialogue either among Catholic or possible dialogue partners.
A sidebar question is whether a new Pope will emphasize that inter-religious dialogue must become an integral part of contemporary Catholic identity and not merely a peripheral exercise undertaken by a select few.
Finally, there is need for the new Pope to continue the process of acknowledging that the Catholic Church over the centuries has treated other Christians as well as people in other faith communities with contempt that has sometimes led to outright suffering and persecution. There must be a clear acknowledgment that the institutional church itself and its leaders were responsible and not merely some wayward individuals. This is not a requirement for authentic dialogue merely for Catholics. But Catholics cannot exempt themselves from this process if a positive culture of dialogue is to emerge.
The statement issued by the French Catholic Bishops some years ago regarding the activities of French Catholicism, including bishops, stands as a marvelous model for how this might be done by Catholics and others.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
More than 100 representatives from 16 Asian countries kicked off the 4th Conference of Muslim-Christian Religious Leaders of Asia in Jakarta Tuesday, aiming to bring “a common word to common action” for justice in the region.
“Bringing Common Word to Common Action is our theme now. In order to bring common word to common action, we must overcome and solve many problems -- religious, political and social,” said Hasyim Muzadi, secretary-general of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS).
The ICIS, the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia organized the program, which will run until March 1, with the support of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) and Christian Conference of Asia.
“We get together here to make our ideas a reality,” Muzadi said.
He hopes religious leaders from Asian countries in attendance, including India, Indonesia and the Philippines, will form an Asia-level forum for interreligious dialogue. “The soul of religions is in Asia, not in other continents,” he said.
Archbishop Fernando R Capalla said injustice, disharmony and disorder in the region can be traced back to the absence of love in neighborhoods and communities.
“From the side of FABC, we believe that such situation can be restored if we follow the teaching of the Holy Bible and the Holy Qu'ran, which is to love God and to love thy neighbor. Justice is an expression of the love of God and the love of neighbor,” he told ucanews.com.
The Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, Nasaruddin Umar welcomed the attendees, saying it “is a witness to a strong commitment from three religions [Catholic, Islam and Protestant] to promote the values of harmony.”
WHAT'S YOUR THOUGHT ON CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS WORKING TOGETHER TO PROMOTE HARMONY AND A CHECK AGAINST TERRORISM? Tell us in the comment section or in our Facebook page.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013
The World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on the pioneering work of The Common Word initiative. This initiative, which started in 2007, called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments; Love of God, and Love of the Neighbor, without nevertheless compromising any of their own religious tenets. The Two commandments are at the heart of the three Monotheistic religions and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible.
For the Xaverian Missionaries, dialogue and cooperation between the great faiths of the world is integral to task of evangelization and the proclamation of Christ to the world. In 1983 John Paul II said that dialogue with other faiths must be the commitment of the local church, "helping all the faithful to respect and to esteem the values, traditions and convictions of other believers." More>>>
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Xaverian Missionaries to begin our new mission in Thailand are now together and working hard on the study of language the culture of Thailand. (From left to right) Fr. Thiago (Brazilian Xaverian), Fr. Matteazzi (Italian Xaverian), Fr. Alex (Italian Xaverian) and Fr. Thierry (Camaroonian Xaverian) gather at the airport in Thailand. Fr. Thiago wrote a letter to our students in our theology program of Manila, Philippines of his arrival and impression...Check it ou!
Bangkok, December 23, 2012
Hi brothers! How are you? I´m fine, but I miss you, p…e confreres! After two weeks of being here in Thailand, I would like to share with you something about my first days in this wonderful land. It´s too early to say something – I know my friends – but again, I would like to share just my first impressions.
I arrived in Bangkok on Friday (07/12) at 8:30 pm. Father Alex was already waiting for me in the airport together with Fr. Matia, Fr. Thierry and the Xaverian sister Elisabetta. From the airport we went straight to our house. It is located in a place called Nonthaburi in the province of Bangkok. The place is surrounded by trees, grass and weeds – a small jungle. Therefore, it is not so difficult to understand why there are so many snakes here. Actually, when we arrived, sister Elisabetta said that there was a snake at entrance of our house in order to welcome us. I think she was joking, but according to her the snake was indeed there.
The following day (08/12) we went to visit one of the slums where the Xaverian sisters work – a very poor place. We have been there for few hours. Sister Catarina (a Xaverian Brazilian sister) asked me to teach the children some English words and in turn they taught me some Thai words: devastating! After that we went to the house of the Xaverian sisters and we celebrated together – on the day of the Immaculate Conception – our first Mass in Thailand. It was a meaningful moment, where we entrusted to the Lord our presence here and asked him the grace of witnessing his Good-Beautiful News in this country. Afterwards we had dinner together. Sister Catarina prepared churrasco (barbecue) and I helped her. I never told you but, I´m an expert in preparing barbecue hahaha…MORE>>>>>>