Many Americans and Europeans are taken aback by the suggestion that collaborating with religious groups on matters of shared concern is a necessity for human flourishing in many parts of the world, says Scott Appleby. They shouldn't. Both bridge-building and bridge-burning wear many labels in today's world, secular and religious. Literacy and engagement are needed to distinguish the positive from the negative, not hardened ideology.
As Pope Benedict's visit to the UK comes to an end, I am left with a sense of sadness. Despite the words of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, attempting to paint the visit as he would perhaps have wished it to be – an endorsement of pluralism and a call to quiet dialogue rather than shrill confrontation, it seems hard to imagine a clearer example of differing cultures failing to understand each other than we have observed over the past few days.
The Pope is using his visit to the Czech Republic this week to call on the country's Catholic population to turn back to the Church. Loyalty to Catholicism appears to be declining in traditionally Catholic areas.