Thursday, April 17, 2008

Inter religious meeting

[Photo courtesy Yahoo.]

Full text. Dialogue is to promote peace, religious harmony, cooperation for charitable works. He expresses admiration for the American understanding of religious tolerance, quoting Alexis de Toqueville. And then,
Dear friends, in our attempt to discover points of commonality, perhaps we have shied away from the responsibility to discuss our differences with calmness and clarity. While always uniting our hearts and minds in the call for peace, we must also listen attentively to the voice of truth. In this way, our dialogue will not stop at identifying a common set of values, but go on to probe their ultimate foundation. We have no reason to fear, for the truth unveils for us the essential relationship between the world and God. We are able to perceive that peace is a "heavenly gift" that calls us to conform human history to the divine order. Herein lies the "truth of peace"
Bam! Right on the money.

He underscores that inter-religious dialogue is more than just a practical one to foster peace, or to work together for the common good. That's well and good. True dialogue is not about bracketing away our differences (though that might be necessary in practical arenas, and in the short term), but has the Truth as its object. And only this kind of dialogue leads to the "truth of peace."

In my very limited experience of formal dialogues and professional ecumenists, this perspective is sorely missing.

In addition, there's certainly been a development since the Council in Magisterial teaching that suggests that interreligious dialogue is part and parcel of the Christian life. This was underscored in the document from the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue, "Dialogue and Proclamation" (which also situated dialogue in the service of the broader evangelizing mission of the Church. Which is not what it sounds like, that dialogue is a kind of subterfuge or manipulation). And the Holy Father repeated it today: "The ardent desire to follow in his [Christ's] footsteps spurs Christians to open their minds and hearts in dialogue"

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