Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, to Speak on ‘Intelligent Compassion’ in Lecture on ‘The Resistance’

It’s Fr. Richard Rohr’s hope that his interfaith lectures will give people “intelligent compassion,” for themselves and for others.

“If the only agenda that’s given to you is what I call the ‘first half of life,’ then you keep trying to attain fame, power, money and success,” said Rohr, a spiritual writer, Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Repetition of that agenda eventually leads to disappointment, according to Rohr.

“(People) will not just be disappointed, but bitter,” he said. “They won’t know how to deal with being an exception.”

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 17 in the Hall of Philosophy, Rohr will discuss the importance of “The Resistance” in growing through life. Rohr’s lecture is part of Week Four’s interfaith theme, “Falling Upward: A Week with Richard Rohr.”

“We name things ‘evil’ in such a trivial way,” Rohr said. “I’ll pick a gross example: I was raised Catholic, and you’ve probably heard the jokes about not eating meat on Friday. Before Vatican II, we couldn’t eat meat on Friday. But when you think eating meat on Friday even approaches the meaning of ‘evil,’ and when you concentrate on things like that being evil, when the real evil comes, you have no eyes to see it.”

According to Rohr, focusing attention on the “inessential features” of religion over its “essential features” is missing the point.

“Every church has done this,” he said. “It’s just heartbreaking. I’ve been a priest for 49 years, so I’ve had to see this happen again and again and again.”

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The author Chris Clements

Chris Clements is reporting on the interfaith lecture previews and Sacred Song Services. He is in his second year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix. This is his first summer at the Daily. When he’s not rereading White Noise by Don DeLillo, he’s listening to his favorite jazz vocalist, Cécile McLorin Salvant.