Intra-Religious Dialogue, a Cloistered Garden and Future Tradition

We start the new year with our recent December lecture by Harry Oldmeadow, “Looking Forward to Tradition: Ancient Truths and Modern Delusions”, where the author examines the conventional notions of progress in contrast with the timelessness of the perennial wisdom:

No one will deny that modernity has its compensations, though these are often of a quite different order from the loudly trumpeted ‘benefits’ of science and technology—some of which are indubitable but many of which issue in consequences far worse than the ills which they are apparently repairing.

• Josep-Maria Mallarach brings us a detailed account of the reconstruction of the Cloister Garden at the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Poblet, the largest monastic complex in Western Europe, with attention to the symbolism and spiritual influence of its elements and the rich history of the building.

• Finally, in his “Inter or Intra-Religious Dialogue?”, Gerard V. Hall SM examines common obstacles to interfaith dialogue and possible avenues to mutual understanding, especially between Christianity and Islam.

The challenge of religious dialogue is compounded by several factors. Perhaps the most serious of these is lack of grounding in one’s own religious tradition. This has less to do with knowledge of doctrines than conversion of heart, mind and spirit—which is, after all, the objective of all religions. When faith is weak, then one’s religious tradition becomes an ideology.