Tag Archives: interreligious dialogue

James Martin reviews “Of Gods and Men”

The culture editor at America Magazine Jesuit Father James Martin, reviews the stunning movie “Of Gods and Men” on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. His comments are worth hearing.

Here is a previous post on “Of Gods and Men” with a few links to other pages including Prior Christian de Cherge’s testament.

Reaching Muslims: A one-stop guide for Christians

Reaching Muslims.jpg

A recent book on Muslim Christian relations is Reaching Muslims: A one-step guide for Christians gives a perspective, albeit from a Protestant perspective, is worth noting. Much of what is said therein would recall for interested readers the kinds of things Pope Benedict XVI has already said. The author is reasonably positive when he speaks about Muslim culture being “culturally rich and often wonderfully passionate
about life and faith.” There is a lot of useful information given here: he covers lots of ground: politics, sociology, belief, justice matters, history and demographics.

This book attempts to help the read to bridge the gap of divisions, real or fictional, between Christians and Muslims. Fear of the other keeps us from speaking the truth in love and in peace with someone who does not think or act like we do. Chatrath holds up the role of friendship in knowing the other. Friendship bears the heat of the day!

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Is there a desire for God still present today?

A few days ago I recommended seeing “Of Gods and Men.” Last week I saw the film and I have still been thinking of the movie, the monks, the hard work of inter-religious dialog. The testament of Dom Christian de Cherge can be read here. I highly recommend reading what Prior Christian said and what others think. A group of friends took time to see the movie together. Two friends brought a perspective of the film to my attention recently. The following is an an answer to those who ask whether a desire for God is still present in our times. Angelo Scola writes: 

I believe that the worldwide success of the film on the Tibhirine
monks [U.S. Title: “Of Gods and Men”] reflects a burning desire in the men and
women of any latitude to meet the face of God; it therefore reflects the real
need we all feel for authentic witnesses who may help us keep our gazes focused

Authentic witness is, in fact, not limited to “giving a good example”.
It shines in all its wholeness as a method for practically knowing reality and
communicating truth. It is a primary value, standing above any other form of
knowledge and communication – scientific, philosophical, theological, artistic,

Christian de Chergé.jpg

A luminous example of this method is offered by the very words which Fr
Christian de Chergé, prior of the Trappist monastery of Notre-Dame de l’Atlas
in Tibhirine, Algeria, wrote in his spiritual will [noted above], a good three years before
he was massacred with his monks:

“When the time comes, I would like to be able
to have an instant of lucidity that would allow me to ask for the pardon of God
and that of men, my brothers, while forgiving with all my heart those who may
have hit me… I cannot see how I could, in fact, rejoice in that this people I
love could be accused of my assassination. It 

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Shahbaz Bhatti, Christian, murdered in Pakistan

Shahbaz Bhatti.jpg

Yesterday, Pakistani Christians –indeed, the world– lost a voice of reason and hope in the heinous, tragic death of Shahbaz Bhatti. He was the minister for minorities for the Pakistan government. 
Let us pray for the peaceful repose of Shahbaz Bhatti, his mother and siblings. We’d do well to pray for the Church in Pakistan!
Read the story.

Change in the College of Cardinals

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of France proto deacon of the College of Cardinals Feb 21 2011.jpgWith the Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, 84, who requested to be made a cardinal-priest and because of his age, the College of Cardinals gets a new proto-deacon (that is, the first among the deacons of the College). 

Jean-Louis Pierre 
Cardinal Tauran, 67, from France, is currently the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. His central duty as the proto deacon is to announce to the world that a new pope has been elected at a conclave. He will say:
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum N. (first name) Sanctaee Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem N. (the surname) qui sis nomen imposuit N. (the papal name).
The French born proto deacon was ordained a priest of Bordeaux in 1969 and was ordained a bishop in 1991. He has served as Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State till 2003 when he was created a cardinal and appointed the Church’s archivist and librarian. In 2007, Pope Benedict named Tauran the President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. 

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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