When I wrote about the monthly meetings of our local interfaith group, I mentioned the scheduled dialogue. I have shared a few of the statements made during one such dialogue. In my last blog article, I talked about an unscheduled dialogue, one that I had with the volunteers from SAVES Today I am going to elaborate on that dialogue.
I wanted to focus our discussion on something that we had in common. I shared with the volunteers some of my observations from a tour of Our Lady of Angels Cathedral. Some members of our interfaith group had toured that cathedral in December of 2004. Since that is the largest Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles County, I was quite certain that at least a few of the SAVES volunteers had been in that Cathedral.
My personal faith beliefs cause me to have great respect for anything that fosters unity within diversity. I felt that one feature in Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral did foster such unity. The Cathedral had a series of little alcoves. Immigrants to Los Angeles could honor their regional saints by worshiping in one of those alcoves. I accredited that aspect of the Cathedral.
I shared those same observations with the SAVES volunteers. I was surprised to hear one of the volunteers say that he expected to one aspect of Our Lady of the Angeles Cathedral.
Traditionally, as I found out, each Catholic Church has the "13 stations of the cross." At each of those stations, there is a depiction of one event that took place as Christ walked to the place where he was crucified. At least one volunteer among the group that I spoke with felt that tradition had been either ignored or forgotten by the designers of Our Lady of Angels Cathedral.
Now, I can understand how someone might want to retain some aspect of a long held tradition. By the same token, I am sure that my dialogue participant had not heard about the total demolition of other religious sites. That demolition has in some cases, been ordered by the Government.
If someone feels that his or her own faith tradition needs to be preserved, then, I feel that the same person should respect any structures that have meaning to members of a different religion. I mention this today, because I learned yesterday that the government of Iran has destroyed a site that held meaning for Sufis, members of a sect of Islam.