This week we print on the opposite page the first of four important interviews by Carolyn Scott. She has been talking to 'ending representatives of some of the principal non-Christian faiths. She will subsequently he meeting a Buddhist, a Muslim and a Hindu.
How much do we know of such ancient faiths as these, adhered to as they are by many millions of people throughout the world? How much, for that matter, do the adherents of these faiths know about what we believe? The answer may well he that in an allegedly ecumenical age we know practically nothing of real importance about each other.
These interviews represent the first stage of a long-term editorial attempt, on the part of this paper, to probe behind the outward walls of "religion" — our own and others — to the much more exciting world of "faith." This is not to tread the Barth-Bonhoeffer road toward "religionless Christianity" but to try to glimpse something of faith's depth and grandeur as compared to the parochialism and pettiness of what many do and say in the name of "religion."
It seems relevant, in this context, not only to learn how others sec themselves—
as in the current series of interviews but also how others see us. Particularly intriguing are those who oppose religion, or at least institutional religion; and we will he publishing in the autumn a group of interviews with notable critics and opponents of religion whose criticism will he seen to spring from a great variety of sources and backgrounds.
To examine more candidly how we see ourselves, we will concentrate toward Christmas on the reality behind the glitter of the Church's most moving and comforting feast. And we will ask why it moves some more than it comforts others.
A prominent theme in the new year will be that of faith as it observably springs from the grass roots of Christian and Catholic Britain. This has nothing in cornmon either with "parish pump" journalism, which seldom relates superficial events to formative ideas, or with rarified intellectual reporting, which is often satisfied with abstract thought to the exclusion of Catholic life in the raw.
Such themes are intentionally tailored to a readership that makes up a more representative cross-section than that of any other Catholic periodical. And in order to do fuller justice to a post-bag that is in any event increasing week by week, we will enable the readers' letters to constitute a wider-ranging "open forum."