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WRAP-UP SUMMARY Robert Daly called attention to the COV&R Home Page, gave special thanks to the eight Boston College graduate assistants who greatly contributed to the smooth running ofthe conference, and reminded COV&R members about the Business Meeting immediately after lunch. Then, after gratefully acknowledging compliments about the organization and running of the conference, he invited comment and criticism about what had been attempted, what may have been learned, and what might be kept in mind for the future. Fred Lawrence, while grateful for the Lonergan-Girard conversation, noted in retrospect that we might have gotten into it more efficiently had we begun with a speaker (like Raymund Schwager, perhaps) who could lucidly communicate a fair sense of either position. Lawrence had in mind Schwager's paper, "Conversion and Authenticity: Lonergan and Girard," one ofthe concurrent lectures on the morning ofJune 1, that several others also recalled as one of the high points of the conference. Paul Nuechterlein remarked that this is indeed one of the ways to undertake a conference like this: just jump in and do it. But he too noted that akeynote address, with reflection on how wedo interreligious dialogue with mimetic theory, might have helped. Paul then singled out two themes fromtheconference. Thefirst was the "idolatry-of-anti-idolatry"theme, the "Satan-casting-out-Satan" image, and the askingabouthow mimetic theory might shed light on the challenge of recognizing false gods without becoming idolatrous ourselves. The second theme orquestion is the matter, which kept comingup throughout the conference, of"being able to take the place of the victim, or the place of weakness." The two themes are linked, Paul suggested, because "to be anti-idolatrous without falling into idolatry means to go to those places of the victim." Daly acknowledged that a keynote address might indeed have helped, but that he eventually despaired offinding someone ahead of time to do it. 191 But, after the experience ofthe conference, he suggested, we probably have a good handful of people who could now do this quite well. Diana Culbertson offered the distinctions between love-talk, truth-talk, and power-talk as a way of understanding how, for example Christians, who talk about Jesus as the unsurpassable and unsurpassed Savior, can still engage with open honesty in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Lovetalk —e.g. when a young woman proclaims that her future husband is the most wonderful man in the world—is something we do not challenge. We "concede that the other loves his or her convictions as deeply and as profoundly as I love mine." Charles McCarthy lamented that someone like the psychiatrist James Gilligan, who would have brought to us the concrete perspectives of clinical reality, was not part of the conference. We missed things, and left things unsaid, in our process. For example, the violence done by atheistic communism was done in spades by capitalism, "and atheistic capitalism is as much a religion as atheistic communism." Sandor Goodhart reinforced Daly's suggestion that we participate in the various forums COV&R makes available: Contagion, the Bulletin, the Internet. Then he thanked Nuechterlein for his highlighting ofthe idolatryof -anti-idolatry theme. As a helpful remedy, he suggested the Jewish idea ofconversion: "the abandonment of sin and the return to the way of God." The problem is, that when we are so sure we have the truth, we are not far from idolatry—the worst form of tyranny. Goodhart then connected this with Girard's emphasis on the importance ofthinking from within our own language. Wecan't stepoutofourown—indeedWestern—language. How, then, have infinite respect for the other individual? It has to be "infinite respect from within what I have available to me. And what I have available to me is this language of victims, this language of scapegoats and mimetic desire, as René has analyzed it." This is how, using our Western concepts and language tools, we must try to avoid the idolatry of anti-idolatry, namely by identifying with the victim, with weakness, wherever weakness occurs. An unidentified participant welcomed the emphasis on the existential and interdisciplinary, but then noted the dangerofbecominga sect. Against this danger, he observed, an academic profile would be a healthy remedy. Gerhard Larcher appreciated...


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pp. 190-192
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