Saturday 24 August 2013

Second and third day at the ILW4

Extraordinary second and third days at the ILW4 Jerusalem. Perhaps the highlights were the interventions of David Neuhaus and Stephanie Saldana, but all the talks were extremely interesting and thought-provoking - Pat Bryne on discernment, Rocco Sacconaghi on the political dimension of self-appropriation through a reflection on Vaclav Havel, Maurice Schepers on interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, Mustafa Abu Sway on the Common Word document that was the response of Muslim intellectuals to Benedict XVI's Regensburg address.

A point to be pondered about: David pointed out that Rossi de Gasperis is one of the prime proponents of the anti-supercessionist attitude, but that in his own opinion, he was missing the context. What I liked was David's caution about a neo-colonial theological attitude: imposition of extraneous and irrelevant contexts on to theology, leading to significant dis-ease for local communities. What therefore might be very relevant in a particular geographical and historical situation like that of Europe of some years ago, might not be relevant in another, quite different historical, geographical and demographic situation.

My question stems from the admiration I have for the work of Rossi de Gasperis: how is it possible that a genuinely holy person can be quite wrong on such a basic point? At any rate, the niggling doubt I had about Rossi's socio-political stance is definitely growing. Strangely, today we will be back on the Mount of the Beatitudes, the place where I met, by chance or providentially, Rossi de Gasperis.

On a lighter note, I was saying to Sue the other day: traditional Palestinian dress is black and red for the women, so where did we get the blue and white for Our Lady? So I was quite surprised but also delighted to be proved wrong: yesterday, at Beth Sahur, we saw a rather elderly Palestinian lady in a beautifully embroidered blue dress with a white hijab.

And, more seriously, Stephanie Saldana's sharing was really powerful. 

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