Spiritual and Religious: What can Religious Traditions Learn from Spiritual Seekers?
December 2, 2013
Organized religion faces a critical challenge: Americans increasingly identify as seekers who are not bound to a single tradition but are open to insights from multiple religious and spiritual sources. Some call themselves spiritual but not religious, others multireligious. Still others are grounded in one faith tradition, but embrace spiritual practices from another. This forum explores what traditional religious organizations might learn from sustained engagement with spiritual seekers.
Uneasy Grace: Can Faith and Doubt Co-exist?
A Presentation by Terry Eagleton
October 15, 2013
Religious traditions often answer confounding questions with an air of supreme confidence. Yet is faith an all-or-nothing proposition? To what extent does doubt endanger belief? And in what sense may doubt actually stir faith?
This forum brings together a distinguished panel to explore the paradoxical relationship between doubt and faith—a source of anguish for those groping for a deeper sense of life’s meaning, and a hotly contested topic in the engagement between religion and science.
The Conversion of Saint John XXIII: From Roncalli to the First Pope of the Contemporary World?
September 23, 2013
Since his election, Pope Francis has been likened to the soon-to-be saint, Pope John XXIII—a man who redefined the papacy for a new era, and who continues to stir enthusiasm across religious boundaries fifty years after his death.
How did an unexceptional career diplomat, who was shunned by his Vatican superiors for decades, achieve such iconic status? What role did emerging satellite communications play in carrying his message to millions around the globe? Does his earlier work among Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims supply a key to understanding the legacy of Pope John XIII?
This forum will explore why the man remembered as “The Good Pope” still resonates with the faithful, and asks if Pope Francis is indeed his natural heir.
Saving the World: Does Faith-Based Humanitarian Aid Deliver Relief or Redemption?
May 15, 2013
Faith-based humanitarianism has become a growth industry in recent years, channeling the influence of privately-held religious commitments into the public sphere around the globe. Yet surprisingly little is known about these initiatives—and to what extent their religious inspiration might help or hinder their success, particularly in troubled regions marked by religious division and conflict.
Does the added dimension of faith contribute something unique to humanitarian work? Or is faith-based aid really just another form of religious proselytizing?
This forum will compare faith-based organizations to their secular counterparts and look at how they are transforming the landscape of humanitarian intervention today.
A quarter century ago, Ireland was regarded as the world’s most deeply Catholic nation, a place where the Church’s influence touched every aspect of social and political life. Today, disillusionment with the Church is widespread and religious participation at a record low. Some now regard Ireland as a post-Catholic country.
How to account for such change? What is it about Irish Catholicism that may have accelerated its transformation? Are things today as dire as they appear? Looking to the future, this forum will explore how the Irish faithful might furnish a new model for evangelization and Church renewal.
From Enemy to Brother: What Changed? Converts and the Revolution in Catholic Teaching about Jews
March 4, 2013
Over two millennia, Catholics regarded Jews as the Church’s enemies, accursed by God and rightly afflicted for rejecting Christ.
But in the middle of the twentieth century, a small group of Catholic converts with Jewish and Protestant roots orchestrated a theological renovation that profoundly changed interreligious relations and reshaped official Church teaching about Jews. Focusing on John Connelly’s acclaimed new book, From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965, this forum explores how, amid Nazi persecution and in the aftermath of the Holocaust, Catholics confronted the most problematic aspect of their history and began to speak a new language of cooperation and friendship with Jews.