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Friday, September 3, 2010

More on Muslim-Catholic dialogue

I want to thank my blog readers for the e-mails and comments that you made last week. My hope is that we can diffuse irrational emotion and enter into a discussion with reason, not only about the ground zero mosque but on a wider level of Christian-Muslim dialogue. Right now the political world, both on the left and the right, is driving that discussion. I believe that in the years ahead the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches, as well as the Jewish faith community, must invite dialogue with Muslims. Dialogue, of course, must be a two way street. there are some questions to raise about violence and the lack of religious freedom, not to mention the treatment of women in many Muslim countries. At the same time we must seek common ground together.

I am in the middle of reading a fine book entitled THE FUTURE CHURCH: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church. by John Allen, Jr., a writer with the National Catholic Reporter. Like myself I'm sure that many will not like all of these trends, but they are there and we must deal with them. Apropos of this entry one of the trends that he brings up is the fact that the next major challenge facing the Church, especially in Africa and the Middle East, is Islam. His Chapter on Islam (pp. 95-140) offers a fine summary of the complexities of dealing with Islam, touching on grounds for hope as well as areas of concern. While no one can offer a complete analysis of a topic like that in a space of 45 pages, Allen certainly points out several important features and offers fine references in his Suggestions for further Reading at the back of the book.

Allen's book was published by Doubleday in 2009. The ISBN number is 978-0-385-52038-6. I'm sure you can purchase it through the usual online services, as well as through NCR. When I finish reading it I will opffer a review on this blog.

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