Ecumenical Dialogue

It depends on the “heretic” in question. I enioy having a religious discussion but I’m not going to water down basic truths of my faith as represented in the Catechism for fear of giving offense. Some non-Catholics are fine with that, others seem to want Catholics to tell them their beliefs are acceptable or even just as good as Catholic beliefs. I wouldn’t expect a staunch Protestant to affirm me in that way, and I expect them to be secure enough in their faith to not get all bothered when I say “the Catholic Church teaches xyz and that’s the truth.” I do not try to convert them either, with the exception of my husband in his final years because trying to get him to Heaven was my duty as a Catholic wife. If I saw him now I’d probably say, “You b—-dy heretic, you died just to get out of having to go to RCIA! I know your tricks!”

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Lots of floor kneeling going on these days. I’ll generally try to at least kneel after Communion to say a couple thanksgiving prayers. Physically I have always been bad at kneeling, and these days the genuflecting is also getting harder.

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I agree entirely !

I do understand your frustration my friend. But if you are waiting on all of us to be perfect its will be a very long wait.


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In C. S. Lewis time Christians not just Anglicans were divided into “high church” (sacrament, tradition), “low church” (evangelicals) and the rising power of “broad church”, which today is mainline. Lewis urged an alliance between high and low, because they had actual fixed beliefs…as opposed to broad church.

Lewis, who did try to engage those with firm beliefs in secularism, seldom if ever tried to engage liberal Christians.

In some ways, those with firm atheist beliefs are better candidates for dialogue for orthodox Christians than liberal Catholics or Protestants are.

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After reading your reply to me, thanks for the info btw; I have to agree with the bad points you listed. Although I haven’t seen them in my experience.

One of the things that drew me to the Church was her Traditions, devotional practices, the mysticism, the miracles and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I’d love to experience life under a stronger adherence to those Traditions.

You mentioned de emphasis of the Eucharist. In my original home parish, we sang the hymn “ O Blessed Sacrament “, there was an exhibit of saints’ relics and Eucharistic miracles and the Deacon who taught RCIA told a story of how a police dog trained to detect and alert to human presence came over and sat down next to the Host on display in the Vatican. There was also a daily Rosary.

I’m a huge devotee of Our Lady and her Rosary and I would be personally horrified if Mariology in the Church ever got de emphasized or watered down.

Here’s my take on Vatican II.

The Church had a clear and unambiguous stance on everything. You knew where she stood. The position was firmly exclusivist. In my pre Catholic days, I had a Catholic friend who said that Vatican II had the effect of confusing Catholics, making Catholics unsure of themselves and the Church; and angering the conservatives.

There was some good I think from Vatican II.
I’d say that the universal call to holiness, the ecumenism, the softer stance regarding Protestants and the new evangelization gears up the Church for better outreach and a more inclusive approach; a softer approach to coax people into the Church.

I just wish the council had thought out the softer approach better so we don’t alarm people, inside and outside the Church; into thinking we’re diluting the Faith or compromising just be better liked. We have to remain firm that we possess the full and unadulterated truth.

If you want to stick closely to Catholic doctrine, then you should study St Paul VI’s Ecclesiam Suam and Evangelii Nuntiandi and St John Paul II’s Ut Unum Sint. As well meaning as some comments are, they are influenced by secular attitudes and inclinations rather than being informed by Church teaching.

Dialogue is a requirement. It is how we evangelize. That is the doctrine we must insist on.

It is not at all obvious that Benedict and Francis disagree. They take nuanced positions that cannot be summed up in a one sided passage like that quoted here. They are both strong supporters of the truth in dialogue.

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After reading these posts, talking with Diaconia and some reflection; here’s my thoughts on dialogue with Protestants.

Dialogue with some Protestants on this site is tiring. I get all wrapped up in arguing over the same theological points over and over again, ad nauseam; and when I finally nail a point home; they just go: Neener, neener, neener; you guys do it too!

I know it’s my duty as a practicing Catholic to evangelize and make disciples. I know it, I get it and I accept it. I know I should be gently and charitably correcting those with a misunderstanding of the Faith. But, all this doctrinal debate is focusing my mind too much on theology and distracting me from my real business: Actually living out the Gospel in my life and being a good husband and father to my wife and family.

However: I accept that I must be ever ready to teach and defend the Faith. Even be ever ready to march to my own Golgotha; praying Hail Marys for my killers as I enter my martyrdom. I am a spiritual warrior.


To be fair…that’s not what I said or meant.

If I can extrapolate: I’m married to a Catholic, so that would be why I attend Catholic church. If I’m not good enough to be part of the “family” because of my different Christian background, can’t volunteer, aren’t invited to festivals, don’t like to sit behind/next to me…but as soon as I change I’m just part of the “family” now and my idle hands are welcome. If you don’t need (want) me around now, but as soon as I convert…I don’t get it. That’s not how I was brought up, so it’s foreign to me.

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Apologetics is a requirement. The first five decades of the the last century was the golden age. Beginning with “Orthodoxy” by G. K. Chesterton, a core of thinking and prayerful Catholics and Protestants in England and elsewhere affirmed “orthodoxy”, or what C. S. Lewis called Mere Christianity. They did not attack other denominations (none were non denominational) did not de emphasize the importance of their own. They confronted the errors of secularism while sometimes staying friends with secularists.

This, not so much “dialogue” between Catholics and Protestants, is what’s crucial now.

That’s already happening with the ILC, which the LCMS is a member of.

On September 17-22, 2018 the Informal Dialogue Group between the International Lutheran Council (ILC) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) will meet again. This time the gathering will take place on the premises of the Lutherische Kirchenmission (Lutheran Church Mission centre) in Bleckmar, Germany. The general topic of this informal dialogue is “The Presence of Divine Salvation in this World,” especially in the Church and its liturgy. This was stated at the beginning of the informal dialogue.

I wouldn’t submit to the evaluation of Lutheran belief in the Eucharist as “in a lesser way” to anyone.


I have been reading through this thread again to tonight and realize that somehow I missed this post this morning. I just want to thank you for it. I am a personal friend of a Deacon in the local Catholic Church and I think he would have written a similar statement.

When I told him that I have been participating here he advised me that I need to realize that one cannot judge all Catholics by the antics of certain posters. How true!


Why do you portray this as ‘not dialogue’?

Paul VI issued his encyclical on Dialogue in the midst of the Second Vatican Council. The ideas expressed in it were influenced by, and exerted an influence on, the people and ideas of the Council. All of his successors.have reaffirmed this.

This means is moving away from secularist ideology and tactics like confrontation, condemnation, and hostility. Certainly apologetics, in the sense of defending the faith, is appropriate, but when it crosses over into war metaphors, it has started moving away from Christianity and into secular attitudes. It is not coincidental that the first half of the last century, what you call a “golden age” for apologetics, is remembered by most as a time of horrifying World Wars.

In my opinion, the moral teaching in Ecclesiam Suam is as important as that in Humanae Vitae. If I insist on Catholic doctrine, it is that doctrine that I will insist on, not the tired polemics: Respect one another; Listen to one another; Behave as if you care for one another, even if you do not convince.

This part of Catholic teaching is not obsolete.

What was your question?

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At any given time, especially yesterday, there are some people committed to dogma, but fearful of dialogue. I am well aware there are some lingering on today, half of whom write vociferously on CAF.

At other times, like the last 50 years, there are many committed to dialogue but fearful of dogma. This is North America and Europe, 2019. These people, with all good intentions, were heavily represented among religious educators, Diocesan newspaper writers, and seminary instructors; and in Ecumenism.

That’s why we need to restore the earlier, “mere Christianity” model of Chesterton, Lewis, Sheed, Sayers, Sheen: friendly but fully committed to dogmas, no attacks on persons but on errors. I would add “fully prolife”.


Why do you characterize this as something different from dialogue?

Your reading of dialogue versus dogma is inherently flawed. Dialogue is part of dogma, not something that can be opposed to it. Insisting on dialogue is insisting on dialogue. Most of the proponents of dialogue in the last 50 years have been committed to dogma.

To say it another, those who disparage dialogue are not presenting an accurate view of the Church’s teaching. We always seek to build up others, to help them embrace God. We cannot do that by imposing doctrine on them. We cannot turn them into implacable enemies of the truth, because they are brothers and sisters we love.

It is also certain that in the present historical situation of Christianity and the world the only possibility we see of fulfilling the Church’s universal mission, with regard to ecumenical questions, is that of seeking sincerely, perseveringly, humbly and also courageously the ways of drawing closer and of union. Pope Paul VI gave us his personal example for this. We must therefore seek unity without being discouraged at the difficulties that can appear or accumulate along that road; otherwise we would be unfaithful to the word of Christ, we would fail to accomplish his testament. Have we the right to run this risk?
St John Paul II. Redemptor Hominis 6

I so agree with this! I mean, the Lutherans have been in communion with TEC and the United Methodist Church just became in communion with TEC ever so recently.

My church even (Episcopal) has two Lutheran seminarians and an Episcopal one working side by side each Mass.

All three congregations took a step back from their differences and realized that between all the nitty gritty, they all believe the same thing, except emphasize different aspects.

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Greetings again TC.
I cannot speak to your specific situation but i would like to address a couple of these issues in general if i may.

As far as the Catholic church goes, you are part of the our family by virtue of your baptism (“brothers and sisters in Christ” see CCC) but not fully until you have completed your initiation through confirmation.

The other aspects you speak of here, not allowed to volunteer, invitation to festivals, not sitting beside you… are not “teachings” of the church. These are practices and bad ones at that.

So my previous response stands, i feel your frustrations, but please don’t judge the universal church by the bad practices of individuals.

Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.
Mt 8:20


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Do the congregations/denominations accept that a woman should have the right to abortion? Do they accept that same sex couples should have the right to marry?

I don’t mean to derail the thread, but earlier I had referenced Chesterton and Lewis, and someone said, that’s like “dialogue”.

I’m pointing out that the earlier generation argued within Natural Law parameters. Some of the “dialogue” of today might not.

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