March 10, 2010
Culture and Catholic Identity in Australia
In a few minutes I will be leaving the Radisson Hotel in downtown Sydney to meet a group of local Catholics Jessica Langrell has pulled together.
We will dine and I will talk with them about “Culture and Catholic Identity,” using the bruhaha at Notre Dame over Obama has a starting point.
I plan on contrasting the “dialogue” approach, used by those who defended the Obama appearance, with the “witness” approach, employed by those who criticized Notre Dame’s invitiation. (I know these are imperfect categories!)
It may surprise some of you that I will not be arguing for the inherent superiority of witness over dialogue — I will arguing there is a time for both approaches, although the honoring of Obama by Notre Dame was not one of them.
My illustrations for the lecture will be taken from encounters with Australians who were quite taken aback by the fact that I was meeting with Cardinal Pell, and that I LIKED him.
Both these encounters took place in social situations where I asked what I was doing in Australia — when I mentioned meeting with Pell the reaction was visceral.
I handled each case quite differently, with one I was conciliatory and with the other I explained forthrightly why I thought Cardinal Pell was a great bishop. Why the different approaches? That is what I will attempt to explain this evening.
Wish me luck, though I know you can’t because it is the middle of the night in the US as I write this.
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