Professor to speak on compassion Nov. 12

November 10, 2014 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Lindsay Mahaney

Compassion can be found everywhere, according to Dr. Peter Feldmeier — a point he plans to emphasize at the Center for Religious Understanding’s annual Murray/Bacik Lecture in Catholic Studies.

heart posterFeldmeier, the Thomas and Margaret Murray and James J. Bacik Catholic Studies Professor, will give a presentation titled “The Power of Compassion in a Cold World” Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Center for Performing Arts Room 1025. A reception will follow the free, public event.

“It’s very valuable to recognize some of the increase in disparities in the world,” Feldmeier said. “The disparity between rich and poor is increasing. In a lot of places, people just seem to not care.”

He said, “It’s a cold world; our hearts are cold.”

Feldmeier said he plans to focus on compassion through the lenses of three different religious backgrounds during his lecture: Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity. He explained that each of the religions utilizes compassion as a core belief.

Judaism holds the belief that the world is broken and it’s humanity’s job to heal it; in other words, compassion is the essence of the life of faith.

The Buddhist tradition has a foundational posture of compassion, which is connected to being attentive to the suffering of one’s self and those surrounding him. Some go so far as to take a Bodhisattva vow — a pledge to devote their lives, all of them because Buddhists believe in reincarnation, to attend to the suffering of others.

In Christianity, compassion is the face of God, which Feldmeier said he supports with the reflections of Cardinal Walter Kasper, author of the book Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, and Pope Francis’ teachings on the necessity for compassion.

“Compassion is currently an imperative to address a world that’s gotten colder,” he said. “Compassion is a core foundation for authentic religion, and compassion has a kind of power like no other — a power to warm, heal and unite like no other thing.”

Free parking will be available in lots 12, 12S and 12W.

For more information, contact the Center for Religious Understanding at 419.530.6187 or visit

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