Issue 45, July 2005
Catholics and Shi'a in Dialogue:
The aim of this unique study is to reflect on how the Catholic tradition and Shi'a Islam bring their spiritual and theoligcal resources to bear on some of the most critical contemporary issues. The dialogue between Catholicism and Shi'a Islam is based on the conviction that the high regard in which both traditions hold prayer and contemplation forms a strong unifying element between the two traditions and is thus a suitable context for a consideration of both mutualities and differences, allowing Catholics and Shk'a jointly to strengthen their response to contemporary challenges.
The main theme of the book is the question of how a person's spirituality should inform the way in which he lives his life, and how contemporary challenges to faith are best met. Consideration is given to the remembrace of God in our respective spiritual traditions, the challenges of living a life of faith today, and how Catholics and Shi'a understand the eternal questions about life and death. Drawing on our joint monotheistic heritage further reflection is given to the Catholic and Shi'a understandings of God'0s presence and action in the world, including a discussion of differences arising over the Qur'anic principle of the Word of God and the Catholic belief in Christ's sacramental presence among us. This context of God's presence in the world is developed around Abraham, sacred in both traditions, as a model of faith for both Catholics and Shi'a, with particular reference to mankind's free response to God's offer of salvation. Turning to practical themes, the book also examines the ideal of faith in the family,the school and the university, as places where the challenge of modernity is sharply encountered.§
Overall, the book is an attempt to draw upon the deep reservoir of shared Catholic and Shi'a spiritual resources, so as to engage with the world and to challenge our contemporary culture and society. Today we are witnessing a worldwide religious revival and a pressing question for religious traditions is how best to resource and channel this thirst for God. The boook provides a rare opportunity for Catholic pastors and theologians to come together with Shi'a scholars and religious leaders to consider the way ahead, to recognise the challenge, but also to challenge and to lead.
Among the articles:
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