Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catholic Muslim Dialogue

The most important series of talks in the environment of the September 11th attack on our soil and the continuing terror attacks in other countries, are those opened by the response to the Regensburg lecture by Pope Benedict XVI, which have led to Muslim leaders meeting at the Vatican to discuss the role of reason and faith.

George Weigel writes on this “interreligious dialogue for adults”.

An excerpt.

“Father Christian Troll, a German Jesuit, is one of the Catholic Church's leading students of Islam and a key figure in the Catholic-Islamic dialogue launched by Pope Benedict XVI's September 2006 Regensburg Lecture. Speaking recently at Cambridge University, Father Troll laid out a series of questions that must be faced in any serious conversation between Catholics and Muslims:

“1. Liberation through conversion and repentance: Can Catholics and Muslims speak frankly about such "abiding realities" of the human condition as "forgetfulness of God and rebellion against him, or oppression in the sense of exceeding the appropriate limits of behavior in dealing with others, while violating their essential human rights?" Is instruction in the dual commandment of love of God and love of neighbor sufficient to overcome the human propensity for wickedness toward the "other"? Or is something more required -- that is, do Christians and Muslims "share an awareness of our need to be liberated by God into the freedom of His gift of love?" Are we agreed that we must all repent of the times when coercion has been used to advance the cause of God? Is self-criticism part of the spiritual self-awareness of both Christians and Muslims?

“2. Faith-and-Reason: Is it possible for Catholics and Muslims to study their sacred texts with piety and "critical rigor"? Is it possible to create a "critical Christian-Muslim scholarship marked by the will to understand out of love?" Does the application of modern scholarly methods to analysis of the origins and character of ancient texts involve a betrayal of faith?”