Keynote: John Allen, National Catholic Reporter
Response by Mary Ann Glendin, Harvard Law School
June 25, 2004
John Allen draws on his considerable experience inside the Vatican and with the global church for this lecture. He notes the “alarming phenomenon” of Catholics who don’t merely seem angry with one another, but who “increasingly seem to speaking separate languages.” As a result, he urges the church to engage in dialogue at all levels and across all divisions.
Mr. Allen contributes to such dialogue by presenting vignettes from the worldwide church and offering alternate interpretations of events. Relating a personal experience of conversion in his own role as a journalist, he stresses that we must all be willing to see “the shades of gray…blinders and prejudice do not safeguard the faith but actually impede full Catholicity.” He concludes with five core elements of a “spirituality of dialogue.”
Professor Mary Ann Glendon observes that “Seeing through the eyes of others” will enable us “to see ourselves somewhat differently and to understand the ways in which our Catholicism has been shaped by the culture of our particular society.”
Both concur that American Catholics, as part of the world’s leading political and commercial power, and the Vatican, as the “leading voice of conscience,” …should be collaborating on a Catholic perspective on global concerns.