Is dialogue enough?

Is dialogue enough?

What I frequently find to be most frustrating about so many American bishops is the sense that they would rather make people happy than bring about atrue interior changes, even if it left those people unhappy at first. In other words, while it’s the blatantly heterodox bishops who cause the most visible problems, it’s often the apparently orthodox bishops who water down the faith that present the longer term worries.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee, in his latest diocesan newspaper column, describes a day of dialogue at Marquette University between representatives of the archdiocese and the university and local elected officials, at least some of whom dissent from the Church’s teaching on abortion. Archbishop Dolan reports that the dialogue was “valuable, enlightening, and productive.” What he doesn’t say is whether any of the dissenters had a change of heart. You get the sense that dialogue is an end rather than a means.

Thirdly, both bishops and politicians most struggle with the virtues of prudence. Differences arose, not about clear church teaching, but about how to make wise faithful, prudent decisions about applying it. This is especially delicate for elected officials, they told us, who must represent constituents other than Catholics, and who sometimes, while fully supportive of the natural law and church teachings, must make pragmatic decisions to back bills which are less than perfect.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli