N° 143 Mission and Dialogue
The first section of this bulletin concentrates on our Founder himself as we have just closed the yearlong celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Mgr. de Marion Brésillac. Brésillac writes in his journal, “I would like to establish our mother-house in Lyon.” Why Lyon and why not any other place in France? Renzo Mandirola dives in to explore the reasons behind that historic decision of the Founder. Along the way, we discover the rich Christian history of Lyon. Brésillac chose not only because of the historic relevance but also because of the quality of the people who were in Lyon at that time. Let us not forget that Ars had its most famous Parish priest at that time. Almost all that we know of Mgr. de Brésillac comes from one source and that is Mgr. de Brésillac himself. We read about him either from his writings or from the letters written to him. Intrigued to find out how the people around him, his confreres and different authorities, saw him and how they spoke about him, Pierre Trichet searches in the writings of different people and brings to light a lot of details for the first time. Not all might be flattering but they all help us to appreciate our Founder from different perspectives.
The second section has two articles. The General Council shares in the first article the panoramic vision of the missionary relevance today. We need to reinvent ourselves continuously through constant discernment by reading the signs of times in order to remain relevant in the society. As we have just finished the all formators meeting in Calavi in January 2015, the Formation commission together with the General Council brings out the synthesis of our vision for formation today.
For the in depth study of this edition, we have chosen ‘Dialogue.’ GA2013 talks of the crucial role ecumenical, intercultural and interreligious dialogues play in our mission (Cf. Mission action plan No.4, GA2013). The section starts with a critical evaluation of Africae Munus by Michael McCabe. Michael starts with a few significant responses the encyclical received from around the world and goes on to evaluate not only the content of the encyclical but also the emphasis given to various propositions of the Synod. While recognising the complement given to Africa as the spiritual lung of the humanity, one is taken aback by the numerous well-intentioned cautions against inculturation. Has the post-Synodal exhortation diluted the propositions and the final message of the Synod? We then have two articles from the introductory program on Christian-Muslim dialogue held in the SMA regional house, Abuja in 2011. People often undermine the power of theology and think of it as relevant only to libraries and prayer halls. Kathleen McGarvey, tries to see how every theology is capable of breeding certain attitudes and even prejudices that shape a society and play a role, though often unnoticed, in the tensions we see in different forms. While dismissing exclusivist and inclusivist approaches to interreligious dialogue as attempts to either exclude or absorb the other, Kathleen advocates a pluralist approach that eliminates the otherness and helps us to appreciate the difference without feeling threatened. The Chief Imam, Mohammad Sani Isah, presents Islam in the final article and affirms that Islam is a religion of peace, compassion and justice. Wish you all good reading and happy downloading!
S. I. Francis Rozario, SMA