Tuesday, 10 June 2008

More on dialogue

ZENIT has today carried the text of Pope Benedict XVI's address when he received in audience the members of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the end of their recent plenary meeting. Here is one paragraph:

"Dialogue in 'veritate et caritate': Pastoral Orientations" -- this is the theme of your Plenary Assembly. I am happy to learn that during these days you have sought to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church's approach to people of other religious traditions. You have considered the broader purpose of dialogue -- to discover the truth -- and the motivation for it, which is charity, in obedience to the divine mission entrusted to the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Along with Cardinal Tauran's recent lecture, this address provides principles for engaging in interreligious dialogue. I believe that the same principles for dialogue can be extended to dialogue with non-believers in secular society, and can underly a Christian engagement in the political and social spheres.

The extract from Pope Benedict does, however, highlight a key point. Dialogue needs to be seen as a collaborative attempt "to discover the truth". Dialogue cannot be based on indifference to the truth, or on the idea that there is no such a thing as objective truth.

And this is why, I suspect, civil society in developed nations, as expressed in their political and social manifestations, is finding to very difficult to enter into a proper dialogue with religions. They appear to be limited to the co-option of religion (seen in a secular, non-religious way) to the "social cohesion" agenda, an agenda that remains inadequate unless it has a relation to truth and genuine good.

A document on interreligious dialogue now appears to be in preparation. I look forward to its appearance in due course.

1 comment:

bernadette said...

But dialogue and objective truth are opposed. What we need are people in public life prepared to present the latter and prepared to take the stick for it. WHAT WE GET is people who, having made it to the grassy uplands on our support, then get their heads turned by power, money and God knows what else, towards compromise.

It`s just a plain, boring, fact.