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Being Catholic in a Diverse World: Honoring the Plurality of Christ's Kingdom

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Being Catholic in a Diverse World: Honoring the Plurality of Christ's Kingdom

  1. 1. BEING CATHOLIC IN A DIVERSE WORLD Honoring the Pluralism of Christ’s Kingdom
  2. 2. A LOOK AT OUR AFTERNOON  1:00 pm Lunch  1:45 pm Talk  2:15 pm Personal prayer and reflection  2:30 pm Sharing  3:00 pm Rosary & Benediction  3:30 pm Departure
  3. 3. FROM SUPPORTIVE CATHOLIC CULTURE TO RELIGIOUS DISCONNECT  Catholic identity reinforced in the neighbors through cultural traditions  Neighborhoods changed as evidenced by parish closures  New immigrants from Asia, Middle East  Social networks: http://www.ourcatholicn eighborhood.com/
  4. 4. RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS IN MASSACHUSETTS  As of 2000, there were 3,092,296 Roman Catholics in Massachusetts, representing nearly half of the total population.  The largest Protestant denominations were: the United Church of Christ, 121,826 adherents;  the Episcopal Church, 98,963;  the American Baptists (USA), 52,716,156; and  the United Methodist Church, 64,028.  The 2nd-largest religious affiliation is Judaism, with about 275,000 adherents in 2000.  The Muslim population the same year was about 41,497 people.  Though membership numbers were not available, reports noted that there were about 57 Buddhist congregations and  20 Hindu congregations throughout the state.  About 35% of the population were not counted as members of any religious organization.
  5. 5. UPSURGE OF SECULAR CULTURE  The number of people who identify themselves as atheists in the United States has been rising, modestly but steadily, in recent years. Our aggregated data from 2012 show that 2.4% of American adults say they are atheists when asked about their religious identity, up from 1.6% in 2007.  Not all atheists see a contradiction between atheism and spirituality. A quarter (26%) say they think of themselves as spiritual people, and 3% consider themselves religious people. Four-in-ten atheists (41%) say they often think about the meaning and purpose of life.  Atheism gained ground in reaction to the religious right of the early 1980’s, aftermath of 9/11, discrimination, and new popular books articulating the atheist and humanist concerns.
  6. 6. CATHOLICS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER FAITHS AND THOSE WITH NO RELIGION  The first encyclical of Pope Paul VI in 1964: “The Church must be in dialogue with the world.”  Vatican II: In the Church’s relationship with non- Christian religions, she considers what is in common and what brings fellowship. Man is united on the deepest of questions from existence of himself, to that of other things which he cannot fully comprehend.  St. John Paul II: “Helping all the faithful to respect and to esteem the values, traditions and convictions of other believers is a commitment which no local church is exempt from duty…” In Addition to the Church’s Mission Constitutive of our Mission
  7. 7. GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES: CATHOLIC EVANGELIZATION IN THE USA “Interreligious dialogue presents an opportunity to learn about other religious traditions and to explain our own. Such dialogue, however, must never be a camouflage for proselytizing. Rather, it should be approached with the utmost respect and sensitivity. “ National Plan of USCCB 2002, #43.
  8. 8. FOUR TYPES OF CATHOLIC DIALOGUE  The first is the dialogue of life where believers of different religions bear witness before each other in daily life to their own human and spiritual values, and help each other to live according to those values in order to build a more just and fraternal society.  The second is the dialogue of works and action where collaboration with other faiths is opportune in the social, economic and political to build a more humane society.  The third is the dialogue of theological exchange and often involves specialists and leaders in different faith traditions in search for ultimate truth.  Finally the dialogue of religious experience is an opportunity to share prayer and religious experiences in our common search for the Absolute.
  9. 9. TWO CHALLENGES FROM POPE FRANCIS  Our relationship with the followers of Islam has taken on great importance, since they are now significantly present in many traditionally Christian countries, where they can freely worship and become fully a part of society. We must never forget that they “profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day”. The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need. Joy of the Gospel 252  As believers, we also feel close to those who do not consider themselves part of any religious tradition, yet sincerely seek the truth, goodness and beauty which we believe have their highest expression and source in God. We consider them as precious allies in the commitment to defending human dignity, in building peaceful coexistence between peoples and in protecting creation. A special place of encounter is offered by new Areopagi such as the Court of the Gentiles, where “believers and non- believers are able to engage in dialogue about fundamental issues of ethics, art and science, and about the search for transcendence”. This too is a path to peace in our troubled world. 257 Dialogue with Islam Dialogue with Secular Culture
  10. 10. COMMON GROUND: CONVERSATIONS AMONG ATHEISTS, HUMANISTS AND RELIGIOUS BELIEVERS  The Xaverian Missionaries organized an international conference of dialogue November 2013  Common Ground meetup group organized in NJ/NY area with 33 members.  We are organizing a conference at Rutgers University for the fall 2015.  We hope to present a panel presentation at the Parliament of World Religions in the fall of 2015 in Salt Lake City.
  11. 11. WHAT WE ARE LEARNING IN DIALOGUE SO FAR  Dialogue is helping us change our minds about each other.  Dialogue is opening up the possibilities of creating bridges of hope in a divided world in ways we never thought of.  Dialogue is demanding we reflect well our own tradition and appreciate much more the powerful contribution that Vatican II and the post-councilior work made in the Church and the world.  Dialogue is requiring us to think more deeply about what the Kingdom of God is and how honoring our plurality is part of this.  Dialogue is pushing us to face our contradictions and the challenges we are still trying to meet in the mission of the 21st century.
  12. 12. QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND SHARING  In the presentation for today, what surprises you? What are things that have been confirmed for you?  Are there favorite scripture passages that help you see the Lord in the challenges of dialogue across faith and conviction boundaries?  What is to be gained by dialogue with other religious traditions and with secular culture?  What questions does this pose for you in our commitment to evangelization and to bring others to Christ? What does it mean in a world which is so diverse and pluralistic?
  13. 13. RESOURCES TO GO FURTHER  Start with the Interfaith Dialogue page of our website which provides lots of information and useful resources to learn more of the Catholic commitment to interfaith dialogue at; www.xaviermissionaries.org/interfaith-dialogue/  The Religious Pluralism Project of Harvard University is a very useful: http://www.pluralism.org/  YouthLead of Sharon, Massachusetts is a hopeful interfaith project that is having a big impact with youth: http://www.youthleadonline.org/  Reach out to your neighbors and friends who of different faith traditions and learn more. Fr. Carl Chudy, SX 12 Helene Court Wayne, NJ 07470 973.942.2975 provincial@xaviermissionari es.org

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