Conference on Mother Mary, Christians and Muslims
The Lakshmi Menon Bhatia Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, Loyola College, Chennai and Islamic Studies Association, Delhi hosted a webinar on Mother Mary: Christians and Muslims on October 24.
05 November 2021
Prof Rita Tvrtkovic
NEW DELHI: The Lakshmi Menon Bhatia Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, Loyola College, Chennai and Islamic Studies Association, Delhi hosted a webinar on Mother Mary: Christians and Muslims on October 24. The webinar was presented by Prof. Rita George-Tvrtkovi? (Associate Professor of Theology, Benedictine University, Illinois, USA).
Professor Rita George Tvrtkovic in his lecture highlighted the representation of Mother Mary both as a bridge between Christians and Muslims and as a barrier to mutual relations between these two groups of believers. She used various documents ranging from the Byzantine archives of the 5th century to the Spanish Cantigas to illustrate her point.
She also underlined that in a surge of missionary zeal, the Dominican scholar William of Tripoli (d. 1291), in the line of Thomas Aquinas, wrote that he believed that the faith could not be transmitted to the other in intellectual fencing matches. He asserted that points common to the two religions such as the “doctrines on Jesus and Mary” could be used as “stepping stones” (bridges) for a better understanding between Christians and Muslims. William of Tripoli praised the piety of Muslims and their reverential fear of God although he criticized Islam in his writings (Treatise on the Saracen State).
Besides, Professor Tvrtkovi? says that Mother Marie was represented according to the various interests and socio-political constraints of the time. The Portuguese in medieval times represented Mother Mary as a barrier for Muslims and as someone who only represented the interests of the Christian faith. She was also drawn into various intra-religious struggles between Catholics and other branches of Christianity.
Professor Tvrtkovic then highlighted various shared shrines dedicated to Mother Mary around the world, where people of multiple beliefs come together in the faith. These shrines in Syria, from Lebanon to India show how united his holy Presence is. The work of the French Catholic scholar of Islam Louis Massignon, who coined the term “Abrahamic Faith” in the late 1950s, once again sheds light on the role of Mother Mary as a bridge between Christians and Muslims.
This presentation was followed by a discussion moderated by Father Mary Arul Raja. The 50 participants from around the world shared their thoughts and perspectives and raised important questions. – CII