Reading Group interviews Thomas Moore about his new book, A Religion of One's Own
for Author Talk: Januay 2014
. During this Q&A exchange, Moore is asked: "The Catholic Church is perhaps the most prominent example of a religious institution that no longer meets the needs of ordinary people. Do you think the new Pope can turn the tide?" His response:
Thomas Moore: "The new pope can turn the tide toward a different and more vital kind of Catholic spirituality. He started doing this from the first moments of his papacy. I find his approach full of hope for the whole world, not just for Catholics. I’ve been saying for years that people throughout the world are looking for a spirituality suited to our times. They don’t know what that means, but they’ll know it when they see it. Meanwhile, many established churches seem to be afraid to adapt to a changing culture. They have been declining, while the average person is frustrated in his search. It would take very little to turn this situation around. I do my best, but I don’t have an official position. I’m a lone voice. I’m hopeful that the new pope will inaugurate a new spiritual movement among all the people of the world. In fact, I’d like to see his language become so radically fresh that he would speak to all the people and not just to Catholics. We’re all Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish and atheist, to a degree and in a certain sense."
Moore is also asked, "You write beautifully about the lessons you’ve learned from Freud and Jung. Would you say that psychotherapy is a religion of sorts in that it helps us to comprehend the incomprehensible?" His response includes:
Thomas Moore: "I passed up opportunities to become a Jungian analyst because I find that people who get stuck on Jung enter an orthodoxy just as rigid as the Catholicism I knew as a young person. But I study Jung almost every day today and can’t imagine my life without his wisdom and example. Everyone should read Memories, Dreams, Reflections, his memoir about his inner life. I have to add a third name in this context: James Hillman. He was my friend and colleague for thirty-eight years. I think he is one of the greatest thinkers ever to have lived. I owe everything to him, to his writings and to his loving friendship. I couldn’t begin to describe his work here in a few words, but I can say that it shows how to read all the great writers, including Freud and Jung, and how to live with imagination."
The site offers twelve discussion questions
that also may be downloaded as a PDF reading guide.