Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Deborah Whitehead

Second Advisor

Holly Gayley

Third Advisor

Elias Sacks


The Center for Action and Contemplation is a ministry that claims interreligious dialogue through the incorporation of Zen meditation. As two of the foundational teachers, Richard Rohr and James Finley explicitly link the practices of Catholic contemplation and Buddhist Meditation. In this thesis, I problematize Rohr’s claim of inclusivity, and by extension, the CAC’s claim of interreligious dialogue. Specifically, I claim that Rohr’s and Finley’s inclusion of Buddhist meditation alongside contemplative practice stems from their conflation of these religious concepts. This conflation is a product of their perennialist framework and, as I will illustrate, what they deem as inclusive may be interpreted as appropriation that replicates a colonial discourse by decontextualizing and essentializing Buddhist meditation.