Dinner in Rome

Editor's Note: Father Jonathan appeared on the "Big Story with John Gibson" at 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 3 to discuss the recent spree of school shootings.

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October 4, 2006

Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine whom you know. FOX News anchor Trace Gallagher and his lovely wife were visiting Rome with some high school pals. What a time we had! We laughed a lot, and apparently, we also carried on some pretty interesting discussion and debate. Walking out of the restaurant, two couples were waiting for us. They had been eavesdropping the whole night and just wanted to thank us for our dinner conversation!

“We know it's rude, and we're so sorry, but your conversation was so fascinating we kept silence at our table so we wouldn't miss a word,” they said.

It's fun to be with smart, open-minded people who care deeply about their families, their country, and about life in general. Somehow we got on the topic of religious diversity. I learned so much from our chat. Somebody brought up the fact that followers of all religions believe deeply that they are right, while their creeds are often essentially contradictory, one with the other. How do we reconcile such diversity with religious truth and dogma?

• The first thing we agreed upon was that we can't all be right. For example, Christians believe Jesus was the divine Son of God. Others believe he was just another prophet. Still others believe he never existed. Logically, all three of those positions can't be true!

• This means some of us are wrong. And that's O.K.!

• Next, we discussed how to deal with other religions. We agreed that open-mindedness, contrary to popular belief, doesn't mean doubting our own faith. It means learning to live side by side in peace and respect for others who believe differently. It also implies recognizing that our intellect and faith are imperfect; therefore, our understanding of true doctrine is gradual.

• Similarly, tolerance does not require us to water down our beliefs to the lowest common denominator so as not to hurt someone else's feelings.

• Lastly, we agreed that all of us need to continue to seek a deeper understanding of the truth, while not being afraid to accept it when we find it, including all of the potential practical consequences for our lives.

I can live with that. Can you?

We talked about other important things, such as the upcoming San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals playoff game (Weaver is pitching against Wells), what makes a good wine good (try a bottle of Borello to find out), and how Michelangelo was able to paint and sculpt so much (think Sistine chapel, the David, the Pietá, Moses, the dome and plaza of St. Peter's Basilica).

All in a night's work!

You can watch Trace on the weekends as he anchors "Studio B" (3pm ET) and "The Fox Report" (7pm ET). He's a wise man, an honest man, and a good friend.

God bless, Father Jonathan

P.S. Many of you have written to me about the recent spree of school shootings and requested that I write on the topic. Perhaps I'll take it up on Monday's posting. In the meantime you can watch this segment I did with John Gibson. I don't think I was as clear or concise as I should have been, but I hope you get the point. If you get a chance, read this article. It highlights the Amish community's beautiful response of forgiveness and charity to the man who killed their children. Also, I received a huge response to Monday's column on neo-Darwinism. I hope to post some of your responses soon!

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