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Oct 15

Making Amends and Moving Forward

It has been an interesting week in the realm of reaching out to other faiths.

Last night a young Muslim woman was invited on stage with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders after asking a question about islamophobia in this country. Sanders hugged her and said “Let me be very personal if I might. I’m Jewish, my father’s family died in concentration camps...I will do everything that I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism that has existed for far too many years.” Whether or not this was a staged event or not I do not know, but it fits with the tenor of the week.

This week marks the 50th Anniversary of "Nostra Aetate" or "In Our Time", a foundational document issued by the Vatican regarding relations with Jews. Most notably it said Christ's death could not be attributed to Jews as a whole, and recognized the shared spiritual patrimony between Christians and Jews and decried all forms of anti-Semitism. While the document mainly deals with relationship with Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, it also has sections on Islam and other faiths saying: "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men." Read the full text in English (it is short) here.

This time of year we are also talking alot about witches and pagans, particularly the tragedy of the witch hunts of the late 1600s in America (and elsewhere). However, I dare say that many of us do not realize that people do practice witchcraft today. I wonder how they feel about the green skinned-hook nosed-wart covered hags cackling in every Hallmark store? Is it the same as black face? I may have to ask some.

Finally, we see that religion is still used as excuse for hate and violence across the world. As we move into Halloween, or whatever you want to call it, we have a tradition of doors being opened, between worlds or just to give out candy. Maybe in the spirit - no pun intended - of the season we can open some doors in ourselves, just to have a look around, and between us and our neighbors.

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