Is interfaith prayer/dialogue at the Assisi gathering of any possible benefit to Catholicism?

Do such gatherings promote some type of unity? Of what benefit can a faithful lay catholic glean from such gatherings? To what purpose does it serve to have the pope stand for a blessing from a voodoo priest? I thought the catholic church’s purpose is to offer conversion to non-Catholics??

This is a very interesting point and one that will make for good discussion - for and against.For me personally,I have taken not so much a closed minded approach to the whole ordeal,but rather one of traditional formula to pass on what we have received from the Apostles,etc.You cannot go wrong or err with 2000 years of tradition in foundation.Whatever JPII had in mind with these gatherings is not for me to judge or how he stands in the eyes of God.Quite simply,I keep to the system that has worked for centuries.To break from tradition for me is to say Christ did not keep His word and the foundation of the Church was always defectible and needed upgrading;least to say,improvement?

By rights we should’ve been wiped out under the reigns of Nero and Diocletian,but we survived by what Christ had taught us.We managed the unthinkable against all odds time and time again throughout history and lived to tell the tale.There was no compromise of the faith then and there is no compromise of the faith for me now.That has been set in concrete.Even if all of you and the world went against me,but I stay true to the authentic precepts and principles of the Church Christ founded,I can honestly say I have a good solid foundation on which to stand on.

Offering prayers in unison with heathens,pagans and contradictory beliefs is the same as asking the martyrs of old to offer incense in the name of the Roman gods.This is just my opinion.


I believe that the Pope does things to spread the word of God as far and wide as he can. When he does something that I do not understand I try to look to the Holy Spirit to guide me to an understanding of what I should have for myself from what the Pope has said or done. I don’t always understand but I do accept in faith that it was meant to be pleasing to God and the Holy Spirit was the guiding force behind the actions.

In RC theology, the Pope is infallible (I think) only on matters of dogma, not in everything he does. I personally view the Assisi gatherings as a misguided mistake, but I don’t expect everything a particular pope does to be perfect. History says quite the opposite.

The Missouri Synod looks rather askance at this kind of event, as well, if there is joint prayer involved.



I wish I had an answer for you, blaskoman. I myself am a little puzzled by this sort of thing.

A friend of mine, a protestant who went to Notre Dame, made an interesting comment to me one time. I wish I could remember how he put it, but it something to the effect that Notre Dame seemed to like every religion – Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism … except Protestantism.

What about protestants who are really good at football or basketball? :smiley:


The first thing I thought when I see this thread is the Novena to the OLPS, there is an intercessory prayer that goes like this : That we may never be so proud as to think we can do without God or religion

Perhaps this Assisi gathering is related in this respect? Any “religion” is fair game here. The point is if other faiths want to come together with the Catholics, there is a sort of fellowship. After all Jesus said “Love one another I have loved you”. Charity is our calling.

Btw when Jesus met with tax collectors and sinners were they all God fearing people?


People are more likely to listen to someone who is willing to listen to them, and so such oecumenical activities do far more for converting others than isolationism does.

Interestingly, as I understand it, Cardinal Ratzinger also wasn’t for the original Assisi meeting that John Paul II held. So a pope can disagree with another pope on that.

I’m not clear on why his stance changed and he decided to hold another one when he himself was Pope. Does anyone have good sources on that?

Blessed John Paul was a great pope, but that doesn’t mean he was perfect. He made mistakes as every other pope has. It would appear that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, did not fully agree with Assisi…it is important to note that when he held his own Assisi gathering in recent memory, ecumenical dialogue occured, but there were no joint worship/prayer services. Each religious leader prayed or worshipped in their own place and on their own time. To me, this is a much more healthy approach from a Catholic perspective.

When I saw the video of JP II and EO leaders at Assisi, I have to admit that I was very concerned - it didn’t seem appropriate.

Perhaps we should consider that this ‘outreach’ isn’t for us, it very well could be for others who don’t understand, and who may be lured into things like Assisi. They may come away with a clearer message from God, and if there is any converting going on, I trust that God is bringing people to the his church.

I had that happen to me - my pastor met me on my terms to bring me into the church. He didn’t treat me as a perfect and rigorous LCMS member, but gave me what I needed to feel welcomed. Of course, he’s smart enough to keep pulling me in with better and stronger cords, but that initial contact may have looked to be rather ‘weak’ to an outside observer

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