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.
Friday, January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time for people to both honor those killed under the Nazi regime and prevent future genocide. As every year at this time, I wanted to post something on the matter, but had a particularly busy day and didn’t have much time to jot down some ideas. I took advantage of the weekend and what follo […]
This morning I had a chance encounter with an old priest—an 80-something-year-old man—whom I had known when I was in my twenties. At the time, he was a teacher at the Seminary of the Diocese of Treviso, but he also served as vice-parish priest in my then parish church in Treviso. I remember him as a very cultured, good-natured and amiable person. That’s also […]
Recently a friend wrote in her timeline, “Evidently I've been talking to myself since Christmas. All my FB posts were privacy set to ‘Only me.’” That did automatically ring a bell for me, because something similar happened to me as well in the past—I don’t want to be too specific on that… Actually, it was frustrating and comic at the same time. Neverthe […]