Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cartoons and caricatures, crossovers and Catholics

From Mirror of Justice--a blog co-authored by Eduardo M. PeƱalver, visiting professor at YLS and teacher of Catholic Social Thought--comes a great post full of wisdom and common sense, as atheists, Christians, and Muslims try to understand each other. Each camp has its intolerant fundamentalists--and generally the most powerful bridge-builders are those who have crossed sides, like C.S. Lewis and Anthony Flew, or who have similar occasional feelings of ostracism, like the rapport between Orthodox Jews and the Druze.

This particular post is by Michael Perry. Take away point:
As well as being a model for integration without assimilation, Catholics have a religious sensibility that enables them, at least more readily than secular intellectuals, to empathise with what Muslims are feeling. They too have not rejected the help of metaphysics in shaping their conception of reality; they too have an absolute rather than a relativistic morality; they too value the family and want to pass their beliefs on to their children; their faith also has a strong international dimension. They understand how much pain ridicule and contempt can cause when directed at revered religious figures, and why that pain can quickly turn to indignation and anger. And they have learnt when it is best to turn the other cheek. Being more familiar with the secular mindset, Catholics may help to explain Muslim feelings. In short, they may be in a position to supply the missing link. It is sorely needed.

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