A Christian Initiative for Interfaith Dialogue
A Christian Initiative for Interfaith Dialogue
Khuda Bakhsh Library has been organizing seminars, Lectures and publishing literature on Indic Religions with its aim an aim to develop Interfaith Understanding. The Library has published hundreds of books in the series including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. This work of Father Crollius is one step forward in such efforts where Khuda Bakhsh and Crollius both wished to live in the kingdom of God, where peace prevails and harmony rules.
It is going to some four decades back when the global overlordship was yet to wait for more than a decade to become uni-polar; when Islam was still held in high esteem, at par with Christianity itself; and when the Arab Oil mattered not so much as the Arab goodwill. The gates of Interfaith understanding were being widely opened and Christian-Muslim joint sessions were being frequently held, both in the East and the West.
This seemed to be a follow-up of the great Ecumenical Council of 1960s, when the historical Fatwa was resolved to exonerate the Jews of the Crucifixion of Jesus. When such a bold, unbelievable, step could have been taken to resolve the endless Judo-Christian conflict for all times to come, why not closing ranks with Muslims as well. That was the occasion when in the bygone days Dr. Crollius first presented his monumental monograph which we are sharing with you today.
Dr. Ary Roest Crollius S.J. (b.1933, Hollan) a Professor of Theology and History of Religions in the Faculty of Missiology in the Gregorian University; Director of the “Centre for Religion and Culture”; Editor of the magazine, “Inculturation”; Member of Pontifical commission for the religious contact with Muslims; President of “The Permanent Mediterranean Conference for International Cooperation”; and of “The Association for International Unity”; Director of “The Recerca Centre F.I.U.C”.
He entered the Society of Jesus on 7.9.1952: was ordained priest on 30.6.1967. His Doctoral Thesis The Word in the Experience of Revelation in Quran and Hindu Scriptures, Gregorian University, Rome, was published in 1974.
Dr. Crollius is one of the highly respected intellectuals representing the Holy Vatican. By this model discourse on the subject, he earned our gratitude; the gratitude still continues: will continue till his message is alive! vibrating! God bless him.
I highly appreciated Father Crollius when he said:
“For me the sake of world peace, and for the sake of religion itself, it is an imperative of the present moment that people of different faiths find the way to each other and, in fraternal dialogue, make a common cause of the promotion of peace among the people of the world”.
I highly appreciated Crollius when he came to a plain-speaking:
“There have been men of courage and noble mind who went beyond the battle fronts of mere polemics, in search of a deeper understanding of the truth about God and man. Unwavering in the fidelity to their own faith and vocation, they knew that God’s truth is greater than any human understanding”.
He proceeded to add:
“Countless are the believers of various traditions who have not ceased to search for the one Truth beyond all diversity”.
I began to love Fr. Crollius when he frankly raised the crucial issue and instantly thrashed out the solution as well. A bold initiative it was: No matter how much liked or disliked it stands. But he spoke with the depth of his heart, and in the best interest of world peace. He raised the pertinent question:
“Here is a serious problem for interfaith dialogue. How can representatives of any two religions meet with each other in sincerity and freedom, when at the back of their minds there is the hope to win the other for his own religion? And neither could we undertake a dialogue on the basis of an attitude of ‘I don’t mind what you believe, but let us come together’. In that case, there would be the dilemma of either forsaking the implications of our own faith or being insincere. How could we cease to wish for our friends what we hold for the most precious treasure in our own lives? Any dialogue, which would not take into account this innermost tendency of our faith, by which it is meant to be shared with others, would be superficial and untrue”.
And he reached to an unexpected conclusion: A bold initiative indeed, more so when coming from a missionary; and all the more courageous when emanating from a Representative of the Holy See:
“In order to promote the true co-operation, an end be put to all attempts aimed by Christians at turning Muslims away from their beliefs, or by Muslim at turning Christians away from their beliefs. This is because, we cannot turn others to God and guide them to the truth. Conversion is a privilege of God, Who turns unto Himself whom he wants and Who guides unto His light whom He wills. And we ourselves, as long as we live, are still in a process of conversion, of growth in faith and faithfulness. As each one experiences the divine guidance in his life and expresses God’s truth in his religion, we may discover many elements which we have in common. With gratitude we receive these precious elements of a common heritage, and humbly we accept also what separates us. Only in this mutual acceptance, and not through high-handed attempts to change each other, we may grow together in faith and faithfulness on our different paths of conversion. In a way we cannot foresee, this growth in the truth of our own faith, while accepting each other as we are, will then be a true convergence, through the grace of him who alone can bring us all together unto Himself”.
Director, Khuda Bakhsh Library, Patna