Media and Communications Office
IN 2014, when he accepted the Templeton Prize, awarded to honour a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, Monsignor Tomas Halik said, ‘When St Augustine was asked which three paths led most surely to God, he replied “the first is humility, the second is humility and the third is humility”. Becoming a Templeton Prize winner is a great test of humility.’
In conversation with Tiffany Orbien of the Archbishop’s Office of Evangelisation today, Monsignor Halik, who is visiting Melbourne, spoke of his prize, of his books, of his early days as priest in the underground Church in his native (then) Czechoslovakia, when even his mother did not know for eleven years that he’d been ordained priest.
Monsignor Halik also talked of his appointment by Pope John Paul II to the newly created (now defunct) Council for Non-Believers and the work it did.
Tiffany Orbien then asked the Monsignor to expand on his statement, made in his acceptance of the Templeton Prize, that ’I am deeply convinced that the chief task of faith and theology is to teach us the art of living amid life’s paradoxes and the courage to enter the cloud of unknowing.’
Monsignor Talik spoke of crisis within the Church, but also of the opportunity those very challenges present us, both as functioning Christians and also in relationship with the other disparate aspects of our ‘post-secular’ society.
On the question of dialogue with other believers and with non-believers, the Monsignor also spoke of the need to explore fully, deeply, without conclusions, without fundamentalism, without assertion. ‘There are some questions,’ he said, ‘that shouldn’t be spoiled by answers.’
‘Persevere with your doubts, carry them in your heart, be comfortable with them’
The silence of God, the hidden-ness of God, are challenges for all of us, he also asserted, but, if we learn from the mystics, we learn that this is the time for maturity, not for doubt, or despair, or superficiality, but for deeper and deeper enquiry. Too often the superficial response can be, ‘God doesn’t speak to me, God doesn’t exist, God is dead’, which bars us from ‘the music of the silence of God.’
Watch the entire interview below.
Monsignor Halik is also appearing tonight (Monday 11th) at a free discussion event at Melbourne University’s Newman College in Parkville. From 5pm until 6.30, he will engage with human rights advocate, author and professor of law, Fr Frank Brennan SJ, in a dialogue about struggling to believe in a time of disillusionment.
Monsignor Talik’s website is www.halik.cz