What is the point of dialogue with other religions (including ecumenism with Protestants and Orthodox)?
Since the rise of inter-faith dialogue, how many people has the Church managed to convert to the Catholic faith? Isn’t that the point of dialogue, to convert unbelievers and those that are outside the unity of the one Catholic sheepfold?
Interfaith dialogue isn’t necessarily about conversion. It’s more about peace, human dignity, and loving your fellow man. Remember that interfaith dialogue is between people of faith… faith, which in itself is kind of about hoping for something better.
But Christ sent us into the world to preach the gospel and convert sinners, not spread human dignity and human peace. In fact, he said:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
Why does the Catholic Church need to talk about human dignity and peace? Why not leave that to the UN and the secular humanists whose mission it is? I think that the Catholic Church has a more supernatural mission than this.
I can tell you one reason. Catholics are being murdered in some parts of the world for their faith. Don’t you think the Church should get involved in this? This isn’t just a Catholic problem btw.
I think you’re misunderstanding what Jesus was saying. He wasn’t instigating violence. He’s talking about how we interact with others and his message being unpopular. Being faithful to God and loving your fellow man isn’t necessarily an easy path. It puts us at loggerheads with people. Christ was hated and killed for his love and acts of mercy.
A well-planned dialogue based on proper guidelines can help Christians of denominations to better understand what Catholicism is all about. Misunderstandings need to be resolved about what Catholics believe. Common ground can be emphasized. Good seeds are planted that way.
The division Jesus is talking about are those that will leave their current beliefs and follow HIM. And THAT will divide peoples and families.
He’s NOT talking about dividing His Church that He builds on Peter and the apostles. He wants perfect unity at all levels of His Church
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21* that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Satan is the one who causes divisiion, and Paul condemns that… in his letter to the Church of Rome. Paul says where division from the Church comes from. SATAN
Romans 16:17-20 (links operational)
17 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions [FONT="]διχοστασίας [/FONT]] and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,a] and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; 20 then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.**(“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rom%2016:17-20&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-32516b”)]
see the definition **[FONT="]διχοστασίας[/FONT]****, **divisions which wrongly separate people into pointless (groundless) factions.
That warning has no expiration date. It’s as good when Paul wrote it, as it is forever
Even the apostles argued over who is the greatest among THEM. Note how Jesus answers their argument. And note who started their argument
#153 [FONT="], [/FONT]Jesus said Satan is the one who causes division
The mission to convert the world and “inter-religious dialogue” are related, but different. The mission should NOT be neglected or exchanged for such dialogue. Inter-religious dialogue is more about collaboration to defend and promote common good things–which is good.
[quote=Nostra Aetate]The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.
Ecumenism applies only to Christian groups. It has a dimension like the above, but it is more strictly geared toward the unity of Christians at the corporate level. Again, though, the Church notes this as complementary, but distinct from, reconciling individual Christians, which is also part of the same imperative.
Working toward’s common objectives can be a source of grace helping lead to unity. St. Thomas More advocated for cooperation between Catholics and Protestants in his Dialogue of Comfort:
“And I trust in God that as God hath caused them to agree together in the defence of his name, so shall he graciously bring them to agree together in the truth of his faith. Therefore will I let God work, and leave off contention.”
As for Our Lord, He intended to bring peace, but foretold that, because of sin, many would reject it and cause division. We should work for true peace and for the good of man–both his bodily and spiritual good–but not compromise our principles to avoid conflict.
Conversion is something that happens in the heart and mind of people. The Church nor any of her members can convert anyone to Catholicism… only flawed religions can use force or trickery to sway people–yet, even then, they do not gain converts but frightened or deceived followers.
The purpose of dialogue is that: dialogue–the Church allows all to seek God through her and she must make herself available to them.
Does that mean that others will not attempt to take advantage of ecumenism to dissuade Catholics from leaving the Faith? No. Yet, each of us must answer to Christ for his/her convictions and straying.
19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (St. Matthew 28:19)
Jesus did not Command conversion of the world; rather, He Commanded that the Church Teach all nations…
It is said that St. Francis of Assisi taught his followers to Preach, always… and when necessary use words… he saw the importance of bringing the Gospel to the world through Christ or as the Church tells us “in persona Christi.” If the Church is to emulate Christ she must avail herself of all the means necessary… Christ, preached, taught, healed, sanctioned, pleaded, blessed, fed, excised, corrected, remained silent, delegated and sent… He did everything for humanity and for the love of humanity… do you recall the passage where Judas (and some of the others) start murmuring about the waste of an expensive perfume… Judas’ big concern was that it could be sold and given to the poor… that means that in her infancy the Church was already dealing with social events not just the Spiritual development of man.
…as for human dignity, have you ever caught the series on EWTN dealing with dignity (“The Catholic Church Builder of Civilization”)? If you are able to afford it I suggest you buy it–if not, maybe you can contact EWTN and ask them to retelevise the series… without the Catholic Church much of what we understand as human rights and dignity would not have existed (compare the nations where Catholicism is outlawed and the exploitation and oppression of its people vs. Catholic nations (or those that at least retain some semblance of Catholic influence).
You are correct in citing Christ’s peace as being different from the worlds… but you’ve misunderstood Christ’s affirmation of the sword and division: He came not to make things easy for those who want to circumvent God’s Commandments and “choose” their own “path” to God… so there will be division even amongst siblings, spouses, and kin. And while the Church must Evangelize and Preach the Gospel, she cannot exist outside the world:
14 I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world; as I also am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil. 16 They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. (St. John 17:14-17)
Do you truly think that if the Church removes herself from the world the world would be in a better state? …just check out abortion on demand, homosexuality, and capitalism… the UN espouses itself with the culture of death seeking to subdue (by might and capital) those who refuse to join. Consider the fact that the Church has been, time and again, pushed out of any activity that is beneficial to the oppressed and marginalized because she does not subscribe to the culture of death (abortion, prophylactics, homosexuality…), why is the UN so bent on halting the Church’s aide? The Church cannot exist on a Spiritual plane while humanity suffers on the temporal arena!
Inter-faith dialog can be a good thing when pursued in the right way. You can clear up any misconceptions about each other, identify areas of agreement and probably most importantly finding areas for cooperation. A great example is the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church cooperating on moral issues such as defending the right to life and upholding the classic Christian teaching on marriage.
Nope…dialog is about informing and correcting people’s understandings about each others faith. It does not *officially *involve effort to convert.
That said, I don’t think anyone with any common sense would not do one’s best to lead their listeners to conversion. I certainly would not because, from my own long years of experience as an n-C I know that almost all of them see it as a “witnessing” tool (we call it faith sharing) so I don’t kid myself. Any effort to evangelize me automatically opens the door for my own counter-evangelism. Imagine their surprise when the people downtown hand me a tract and get a Catholic one in return with a promise that I’ll read theirs if they read mine and if they refuse then I walk away.