31 December 2013

Even the Mildest Exception to Religious Indifference is Too Intolerant for the World

Inter-religious dialogue is one of the buzz phrases of our times. What does it mean? Well, of course, nothing, really. Which is to say it sounds pleasant enough and serves whatever purpose the speaker intends, without disturbing what the hearer hears.

Where was I? Oh yes. It seems that some folks in India, Hindus, I presume, have taken umbrage with a religious education program at St. Anselm Parish in St. Louis.

Why they would care about a Catholic program for Catholics in a provincial town a world away from India is a question I leave for you to decide.

Here is the story from the evocatively-named publication India Blooms:

World Religion: St. Louis Archdiocese Criticised

“A free series of presentations for students to seniors” by Benedictine Father Michael G. Brunner from January four to March one on Saturdays at Saint Anselm Parish Centre in Creve Coeur (Missouri) include Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam. The flyer, created to announce these World Religions series contains the tagline “Learn what they know, so you know what they need to know.”

Distinguished religious statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Tuesday, said that this “need to know” tagline was highly inappropriate reference to great world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that we all should be more sensitive and respectful while talking about other religions. “Need to know” kind of statement even seemed to be contrary to the highly inclusive approach of His Holiness Pope Francis and the mission of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (established in 1826), which included “fostering unity in diversity”.

Zed urged Archbishop of Saint Louis Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington DC to clarify their stand on the issue.

Zed noted that various religions were basically different human responses to divine Ultimate Reality. Dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment.

I can imagine that His Grace has better things to do than to smooth the ruffled feathers of international Hinduism. But that is why he gets paid the big bucks. ;-)

The point of my posting this story is to highlight, as I've noted, the fact that such a program for Catholic youth-- merely teaching about the tenets of other faiths with an eye toward young Catholics being able to understand and defend their own-- is repugnant to what non-Catholics mean by "inter-religious dialogue", whatever the nominally Catholic architects of the post-Conciliar movement want it to mean.

It is also a nice surprise to see such a series of lectures actually state that the purpose is to know "what [the other religions' adherents] need to know". This stands in contrast to the rank religious indifferentism encouraged by so many Catholic high school world religions courses.

Finally, it is yet another example of taking the extemporaneous words of our Holy Father in a way that are not compatible with immemorial Catholic teaching. We must assume he did not mean them in this way, but the enemies of the Church take them so on a routine basis.

Let us continue to pray for the conversion of all who embrace erroneous religions, whether they be attached to Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, or whatever other sects covered by these presentations.

Kudos to Fr. Bruner and St. Anselm for their initiative. The flyer is here for more information.


JBQ said...

Nice article with respect to Father Brunner. Hopefully, the ambiguity from Rome will soon clear up.

dulac90 said...

Along with Zed, I urge "Archbishop of Saint Louis Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington DC to clarify their stand on the issue."

Is Catholicism the one, true faith or not?

Fr. Andrew said...

Thanks for the laugh of the day. And a new year's resolution: to get protested...might be tough in SD, we're too common sense.