Posts Tagged ‘Fordham University’
by Peter Feuerherd
New York Province of the Society of Jesus
As he sat, literally and figuratively, in the chair of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., Jesuit Father Patrick Ryan, S.J., reflected about following in the footsteps of a Catholic theological giant.
Father Ryan, 70, occupies the office and holds the chair as the Laurence J. McGinley professor of religion and society at Fordham University, a position held by Cardinal Dulles from 1988 until his death in 2008. A former student of Cardinal Dulles, Father Ryan, in the afterglow of Vatican II’s outreach to non-Christians, was urged by the theologian to pursue doctoral studies in comparative religion at Harvard.
He responded with a doctoral dissertation based in part on his own experience in Nigeria. As a young Jesuit teacher in Nigeria, Father Ryan got to know the Yoruba people, a group roughly half Christian and half Muslim, who have long experienced interfaith understanding.
The Yoruba are a model in a post-9/11 world, wrote Father Ryan in the February 2006 issue of National Jesuit News.
“The Yoruba Christians and Muslims, despite some efforts by a handful of fanatic on both sides in recent years, have learned not only to tolerate each other but even to join in each other’s moments of sorrow and moments of conviviality,” he wrote, citing their interfaith families and friendships. Among the Yoruba, Christians and Muslims routinely join together for weddings and funerals.