Benedict XVI is probably one of the few figures to have profoundly understood the ambiguity in which contemporary Islam is being debated and its struggle to find a place in modern society. At the same time, he is proposing a way for Islam to work toward coexistence globally and with religions, based not on religious dialogue, but on dialogue between cultures and civilizations based on rationality and on a vision of man and human nature which comes before any ideology or religion. This choice to wager on cultural dialogue explains his decision to absorb the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue into the larger Pontifical Council for Culture.
While the pope is asking Islam for dialogue based on culture, human rights, the refusal of violence, he is asking the West, at the same time, to go back to a vision of human nature and rationality in which the religious dimension is not excluded. In this way – and perhaps only in this way – a clash of civilizations can be avoided, transforming it instead into a dialogue between civilizations.
Egyptian Jesuit Samir Khalil Samir, who is very familiar with both the pope and the Muslim religion, has written for Asia News an essay titled “When Civilizations Meet: How Joseph Ratzinger Sees Islam.” You can read it in entirety on Sandro Magister’s website.
Dear Social Media Friends,A few notes on my birthday, which occurred just yesterday. First, let me say a huge thank you to all of you that have been kind enough to stop by at my Facebook page and other social media, and leave your birthday wishes! All included—Facebook (timeline and chat), Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.—I received as many as several hundreds of bir […]
The Prodigal Son (Orthodox Icon)Yesterday afternoon I attended the funeral of a neighbor—a 80-something-year-old man, and a very kind and good person. I didn’t know the priest who celebrated the Funeral Mass, the only thing I know about him is what he said about himself in his homily, namely, that he is 74 and that in the long-ago he had lived in that parish […]
Times are tough, I know, but let’s talk about something a bit more cheerful than my normal rants, let’s talk about Facebook, the most popular of all the social media platforms. There’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask someone in the know—you’ve just received a Facebook poke, and the first thing that comes to your mind is, “What is this, and what does it m […]