I think it is a very good thing, during Lent, not simply to “give up” something but to also “do” something positive. I try to include both the giving up and the doing in my own Lenten practices.
The laity at this Catholic parish has decided that their “doing” will be a doozy.
“This year, we want people to think about making peace during Lent,” said the Rev. Randy Phillips, pastor of the nearly 10,000-member church at 12151 Fifteen Mile Road. “To help us think about this, we’re bringing people together from different religious traditions to talk about our common hopes for peace.”
Over the next 40 days and six Sundays until Easter on March 27, St. Blase will host six talks by Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and American Indian leaders. The events are open to the public and listed on the parish’s Internet site, stblase.org.
This is a good idea. Inter-faith dialogue is always a good, useful thing, and many of us have been thrilled to see the growing friendship between Catholics and Jews, and Catholics and Evangelicals.
Nevertheless…I always watch these goings on with my eyebrows slightly raised, even when I am participating in them…because in my post Vatican II experience, the Catholics – as if they are trying too eagerly to prove their open-mindedness – can sometimes become too caught up in things, and get a bit heady…that’s when they start throwing out babies with bathwater and doing incredibly STUPID things like putting the Tabernacle out of sight, and into cry-rooms!
I never worry about the others. The Jews know who they are. The Evangelicals know who they are. The Muslims and Hindus and the rest, all know who they are. It’s my fellow Catholics, particularly the poorly-catechised ones, who often do not know who they are, or understand just what they have…and they’re the ones who worry me. They can be real bulldozers of deconstruction, sometimes.