In the midst of an address to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples (could they think of a longer name?) Pope Benedict made what I thought was an interesting remark about interreligious dialogue.:
The Pope highlighted the Catholic Church’s awareness of the fact that “inter-religious dialogue is part of her commitment to serve humanity in the modern world.” In our time, “Christians are called to cultivate a form of open dialogue on religious problems, not renouncing the presentation ... of the Christian message in keeping with their own identity.”
Dialogue with adherents to other religions is not an option for Catholics, but a requirement, and that dialogue is not simply informing others of the Truth and then telling them to accept it or go away. Dialogue entails a back and forth, not to end up at a compromise position that is a chimera of the two religions, but so that a gradual enlightenment can occur leading the non-Christian to the Truth and the Christian to a greater understanding of the mindset and outlook of the non-Christian. Note how he says that while a dialogue is important for discussing religious problems, the participants must not lose their own Christian identity in the process.
Seems to be a rebuke of the both the conquistador school of religious dialogue (“Convert or die!”) as well as the syncretist school (“Whatever floats your boat, man, now pass the peace pipe.”).
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