Jesuit Fr. General Discusses Dialogue w/Other Faiths


#1

From Chiesa: Sandro Magister reporting

"…A stir was made by a recent interview with the superior general of the Jesuits, Peter Hans Kolvenbach,** on what is perhaps the most controversial topic of the pontificate of John Paul II: that of dialogue between the Catholic Church and the other religions. **

Father Kolvenbach is neither a bishop nor a cardinal, but he is considered – in part because of the religious order he directs – one of the most representative exponents of the left wing of the Church.

But even he is reversing course these days on the question of interreligious dialogue. He does not exclude dialogue; on the contrary, he calls for it, but above all he warns of its limits and dangers.

Certainly, thanks to the efforts of John Paul II the religions meet with each other, sometimes coming to agreement as in Assisi to say together that no one may kill in the name of God.

But there is a continually growing awareness, to the extent to which we come to know each other’s deep religious convictions, that there is an unbridgeable gap between the religions.

It’s true, an unbridgeable gap. We can of course discuss civilized coexistence among the religions, but experience shows that – whether we like it or not – faith in the Most Holy Trinity is for all the religions an insurmountable obstacle to a deeper dialogue.

I repeat that this does not exclude meetings for the purpose of understanding each other better. But an awareness of the impediment makes these meetings become more honest.

Otherwise there is a risk of treating the Muslim, theologically, as if he were a Christian of another confession.

A true dialogue cannot be based upon an easy attitude of confusion in which the different religions are indistinctly mixed together, or upon an insidious relativism in which all truths are seen as equal.

Following the Church’s teaching, the text of the 34th General Congregation [of the Society of Jesus] encourages a dialogue in which each participant, in accordance with his faith, makes an effort to meet the other in his religious conviction, with the sole concern of respecting the differences of his religion, yet consenting to be consulted in his search for God.

This God is one, but He is not the same according to all who believe in Him; and this God can receive in this or that religion a name that carries a sense of exclusion. …"


#2

[quote=HagiaSophia]From Chiesa: Sandro Magister reporting

"…A stir was made by a recent interview with the superior general of the Jesuits, Peter Hans Kolvenbach,** on what is perhaps the most controversial topic of the pontificate of John Paul II: that of dialogue between the Catholic Church and the other religions. **

Father Kolvenbach is neither a bishop nor a cardinal, but he is considered – in part because of the religious order he directs – one of the most representative exponents of the left wing of the Church.

But even he is reversing course these days on the question of interreligious dialogue. He does not exclude dialogue; on the contrary, he calls for it, but above all he warns of its limits and dangers.
. …"
[/quote]

The following may sound a bit cynical, because it is.

I tend to agree with Father Kolvenbach. It totally amazes me how ardently Rome seeks communion with Anglicans and Lutherans and others who are ordaining women priests and taking stands on other measures (abortion, divorce, etc.) that are far from what Rome has declared to be undebatable.

What I would really like Father Kolvenbach to do would be to foster “interreligous dialogue” with many of the priests of the Jesuit order who seem to be marching to their own drummer these days.Their vows of obedience to him and to the Pope seem to have been completely ignored by Jesuits serving in the various colleges and universities.

My favorite quote along this line involved not a Jesuit, but a lay theologian at a Minnesota Catholic college. When asked at a public meeting what he liked best about his job, without hesitation, he responded “The Church doesn’t tell me what to do.” :frowning:


#3

Ray,

What does dialogue with Anglicans and Lutherans have to do with interreligious dialogue? Anglicanism and Lutheranism are forms of Christianity. Fr. Kolvenbach’s point was precisely that the danger of interreligious dialogue is that we may act as if other religions were Christian denominations–in other words, the confusion of interreligious dialogue with ecumenism.

In Christ,

Edwin


#4

Dear Edwin:

I think in his haste (because of cynicism?), Ray mistook interreligious dialogue (between the Holy See and the world’s major religions) with **interfaith ** dialogue (between the Holy See and the various Christian confessions/denominations), or “ecumenism.”

These separate endeavors are led and pursued by 2 independent dicasteries in the Roman Curia under the guidance and leadership of Pope John Paul II.


#5

Amadeus,

At the risk of being hopelessly pedantic, “interfaith” and “interreligious” dialogue generally refer to the same thing–to dialogue between different religions, such as Christianity and Islam. This is important only because I notice that the terms get confused a lot on this board, and I think that this contributes very much to the suspicion of ecumenism expressed by some posters here. As normally used, “interfaith” and “interreligious” dialogue are one thing, and ecumenism is something else.

In Christ,

Edwin


#6

[quote=Ray Marshall]The following may sound a bit cynical, because it is. (
[/quote]

Hey when I saw Kolvenbach’s name on this I nearly had to pick myself up from the floor - I mean talk about the far left progressive point of the church…sheesh!

[quote=Ray MarshalI] I tend to agree with Father Kolvenbach. It totally amazes me how ardently Rome seeks communion with Anglicans and Lutherans and others who are ordaining women priests and taking stands on other measures (abortion, divorce, etc.) that are far from what Rome has declared to be undebatable.(
[/quote]

I suspect this, that the Anglicans, Lutherans etc have great division over these very ideas - and some have converted right into the RC’s, some are seeking quietly to establish themselves independent of the bodies ordaining women and taking the rather strange positions for churches. The pope is also a great one for picking up on the things we share and using those to unifiy with on measures or specific campaigns, all the while knowing that we don’t and won’t agree on every issue but can unite under those we can. This is the exact M/O he used against the Polish communists - unite on something no matter how small and start negotiating.

[quote=Ray Marshal]What I would really like Father Kolvenbach to do would be to foster “interreligous dialogue” with many of the priests of the Jesuit order who seem to be marching to their own drummer these days.Their vows of obedience to him and to the Pope seem to have been completely ignored by Jesuits serving in the various colleges and universities.
[/quote]

Amen, allelujah and from your mouth to God’s ear. I’ve been saying for years now, a number of the orders could use an exorcism, a preached mission/retreat series and a reconverson process. May Paul send a bolt of lightening their way. Remember this pope came within a hairsbreadth of suppressing them until Dezza stepped in. (but then that’s a whole story unto itself).

[quote=Ray Marshal]My favorite quote along this line involved not a Jesuit, but a lay theologian at a Minnesota Catholic college. When asked at a public meeting what he liked best about his job, without hesitation, he responded “The Church doesn’t tell me what to do.” :frowning:
[/quote]

And he’s right, sadly, he’s right. That’s why these two latest statements, this one from Kolvenbach and the one from Kasper which I posted over in Liturgy set me back on my ear - to have come from the two of them means that the buck has stopped passing - the pope had told every curial congregation he expects to personally see what efforts they have made in this Year of the Eucharist and it looks like he has let it be known-- it better happen.

On a more cynical note, to be considered papabile or to be a “force” behind one, it is necessary to be able to produce at conclave some written works which the other cardinals can read to ascertain suitability.:stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:


#7

A document called “Christianity and the Religions” was published in 1997 by the International Theological Commission - unfortunately it is still not on their web page.

It would make some people have a cow :slight_smile: It’s not that venturesome really - it’s a position paper, so it examines several different ideas about how Christ & the Spirit might conceivably be related to the other religions of the world.

Dialogue with other religions is not exactly optional ##


#8

I can assure you that if some read up on the Ratzinger-Kasper debates, they’d have two cows.


#9

[quote=Amadeus]Dear Edwin:

I think in his haste (because of cynicism?), Ray mistook interreligious dialogue (between the Holy See and the world’s major religions) with **interfaith ** dialogue (between the Holy See and the various Christian confessions/denominations), or “ecumenism.”

These separate endeavors are led and pursued by 2 independent dicasteries in the Roman Curia under the guidance and leadership of Pope John Paul II.
[/quote]

I’m not sure what the exact distinction is, but the chances of major agreements between the Church and either Protestant or Islamic grooups, as a result of interreligious or interfaith dialogues, are very remote. There are way too many organizational disagreements.

However, I would agree that the conversations with both parties should continue as a part of the ongoing efforts for the evangelization of individuals. All are called to communion with Rome.


#10

[quote=Ray Marshall]However, I would agree that the conversations with both parties should continue as a part of the ongoing efforts
[/quote]

Here is an example of how the Pope works with his alliances: as I mentioned before, it is not just on religious theological issues that these coalitions work well.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=492010#post492010


#11

[quote=HagiaSophia]I can assure you that if some read up on the Ratzinger-Kasper debates, they’d have two cows.
[/quote]

I believe you :smiley:


#12

[quote=Ray Marshall]I’m not sure what the exact distinction is, but the chances of major agreements between the Church and either Protestant or Islamic grooups, as a result of interreligious or interfaith dialogues, are very remote. There are way too many organizational disagreements.

However, I would agree that the conversations with both parties should continue as a part of the ongoing efforts for the evangelization of individuals. All are called to communion with Rome.
[/quote]

##…which is secondary to communion with Christ - Catholics too need to be evangelised:

To quote the Bishop of Clifton:

“…Paul VI teaches us that if we are to be effective in the work of evangelisation we need to listen unceasingly to the Christ whom we proclaim, and the reason we have for hoping. We are the People of God immersed in the world and therefore sometimes tempted by false gods. We need to listen to God’s word, who is Jesus, so that the call to conversion is not yesterday’s call but the one that is ever present. We have a constant need of being evangelised if we are to retain freshness, vigour and strength in bearing witness to Christ…” ##


#13

“One of the deleterious effects of the study of religions,” Buckley said, “has been to treat these communities and traditions of wisdom and prayer as if they were univocal species of the one genus ‘religion,’ mutually exclusive species among which one must make a choice, territories in competition with one another.” Buckley said he wondered if in that respect, we have become victims of our language.

nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/pfw031805.htm


#14

I would note, not directly related to the discussion, but of interest in my opinion, that Father General was ordained to and remains of the presbyterate of the Armenian Catholic Church, having bi-ecclesial faculties in the Latin Church as is the case with all Jesuits ordained to the Eastern Churches.

Many years,

Neil


#15

[quote=Irish Melkite]I would note, not directly related to the discussion, but of interest in my opinion, that Father General was ordained to and remains of the presbyterate of the Armenian Catholic Church, having bi-ecclesial faculties in the Latin Church as is the case with all Jesuits ordained to the Eastern Churches.

Many years,

Neil
[/quote]

Do you mean Kolvenbach?


#16

[quote=HagiaSophia]Do you mean Kolvenbach?
[/quote]

Yes.


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