Friday, November 22, 2013

What Is Cardinal Tauran Talking About?

Here are some snips from a recent address that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gave to the Global Forum sponsored by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. I confess that I have no idea how big of a deal this organization is.

I do know that His Eminence is kind of a big deal, so his remarks merit some examination.

Per Zenit:

What is at the centre of our concern is the human person, man and woman. The human person is the object of the attention of political and religious leaders. Each one of us is a citizen and a believer. All of us belong to the same human family. It means that we share the same dignity, we are confronted by the same problems, we enjoy the same rights and we are called to accomplish the same duties.

But unfortunately, we have to recognize that too often: we judge people on their appearance or on their ‘production’, even though every human person is much more than how he or she appears or is able to produce; we reduce the human person to an object (I am thinking of all the problems raised by bio-technology), while the human person transcends his/her material dimension;

Nothing really to see here. These are all legit concerns, despite the fuzziness of the central concern being man rather than God. He brings up big issues, though, which deserve our attention and which popes have been ringing the alarm bells on for a while.


Interreligious dialogue teaches us: to be careful not to present the religion of the other in a bad light in schools, universities, the mass media and, in particular, in the religious discourse; not to demean the religious convictions of the others, especially when they are not present; to consider diversity – ethical, cultural, vision of the world – as richness, not as a threat.

What does this mean? Taking for granted that Catholicism is the One, True Faith, as Catholics are obligated to believe, this necessarily means that other religions are false. How are we to view this diversity of religions as anything other than bad, much less "richness"?

How does Sacred Scripture treat of false religions? What do the Fathers and Doctors of the Church say about such things?

I'm not saying that we go around degrading other people. After all, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar," according to St. Francis de Sales. That doesn't mean that we have to heap empty praises on these other religions either or label their existence as positive. This would be impossible, as it would mean that God has affirmatively willed for there to be mechanisms that deceive people about who He is and what He does.

The whole Inter-Religious Dialogue thing has always bothered me. Seeing comments like this don't make it any better.


Anonymous said...

Inter-religious dialogue = an exercise in futility that has no specific goal, other than to flatter one's interlocutors.

Throwback said...

Something like that, yes.

I often wonder why folks have no problems questioning the money spent on restoring beautiful churches, etc. and yet they never so much as blink on the funds that are poured into the utterly fruitless exercise of jetting prelates and theologians to all these inter-religious and ecumenical conferences. Looking at YOU on this one, ARCIC.