Paul Knitter, a controversial Catholic theologian known for his work on the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity, will discuss his work Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Duquesne University. The title of the panel presentation is “Without Buddha I could not be a Christian: A Dialogue on Multiple Religious Belonging.”
Dr. Knitter teaches and blogs at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, long known as a bastion of liberal Protestant theology. The purpose of the panel is to understand his work, not necessarily to endorse it, said Aimee Light, assistant professor of theology at Duquesne.
“It’s partly about whether you can belong to more than one religion at a time. Specifically it’s about Knitter’s own faith journey as a Catholic and how studying Buddhism deepened his Catholic faith,” she said. “There is some question about wehther he is studying Buddhism or practicing Buddhism.”
He was ordained a Catholic priest but left the active ministry and married. He remains a daily communicant. The Catholic Church is actively engaged in a dialogue with Buddhist leaders about mutual concerns of justice and peace, but the church holds that non-Christian religions are incompatible with Christian faith.The church teaches that it is possible, but not probable, for non-Christians to be saved, and says that Catholics should evangelize those of other faiths.
All of the theology faculty at Duquesne will participate in questioning and responding to him, she said.\
“We’d like to know more about his current theological position. I think his views have changed somewhat over the years,” she said.
The panel will be held Thursday April 19, 4-6 p.m. in the Bayer Learning Center’s Pappert Lecture Hall. Signs to the event will be posted on campus. The panel is free and open to the public.