Fostering Community Cohesion: The Role of Recognition in Religious Discourse


Religion plays a pivotal role in nurturing human unity through meaningful dialogue. However, the reality often reveals a more complex picture, as dialogues between individuals holding religious beliefs frequently become arenas of contention and allegations. A contemporary instance of this discord is evident within the Catholic Church, where a minority of cardinals and prominent lay members, particularly in North America, have exhibited resistance and suspended their support for Pope Francis’s Synodal process. In such instances, rather than achieving cohesion, there is a palpable sense of dissonance. In recent years, Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the “translational proviso” has emerged as an attempt to mitigate this dissonance and cultivate universal community cohesion by advocating for the neutralization of religious language. However, this paper contends that the contemporary imperative for community cohesion lies not in neutralization but in the recognition of others in a manner that dignifies their respective authority and experience. Within this framework, this paper situates the notion of recognition in the context of the prevalent experiences of eco-anxiety in modern society. For individuals with strong religious affiliations, eco-anxiety represents a deeply felt dissonance. To counteract this precarious erosion of communal bonds, the paper proposes elevating the role of religious communities as assemblies of “recognizers.” In this capacity, these communities can mobilize their institutional resources and expertise to identify and address eco-anxiety effectively, reintegrating those who feel alienated and marginalized into the communal fabric in ways that build a sustainable future of hope.


Gerard Ryan
Director, Master of Divinity and Master in Theological Studies Degrees and Assistant Professor of Political Theology , Regis College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


The Politics of Religion


Religion Dialogue Dissonance Translational Proviso Recognition Eco-Anxiety

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