Truth and Sincerity Seen as Keys for a Fruitful Interreligious Dialogue

Says Editorial in Civiltà Cattolica

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ROME, JULY 18, 2004 ( Interreligious dialogue is an imperative but must be based «on truth and sincerity» if it is to be fruitful, says the review Civiltà Cattolica.

An editorial in the July 17 edition of the biweekly review pointed out both the problems and the possibilities presented by interreligious dialogue.

Civiltà Cattolica, which is revised by the Vatican Secretariat of State before being published, stated that interreligious dialogue has become «one of the Church’s urgencies.»

Dialogue needs certain conditions to be fruitful, the review said. First, the idea must be overcome that religion is harmful and damaging. Instead, there is «a desire for dialogue to find points of agreement and extinguish powder kegs of war and conflict,» the editorial stated.

Among religions themselves, «The results are positive: a climate of mutual respect and trust has been created to put an end to intolerance and the reciprocal ignorance of the past,» it continued.

Yet, whereas «The dialogue of life, agreement, understanding and acceptance has not been difficult, … religious dialogue itself, called theological, has met with serious difficulties.»

Among the difficulties in the theological realm, the review said, is «the mutual ignorance of what the speakers believe.» Second, «the persistence of prejudices.» The greatest difficulty in the Christian ambit, however, lies in deformed views of «the person of Jesus,» it stressed.

The review criticized the attempts of some theologians to reinterpret the Trinity and the incarnation of Jesus because they lead to a negation of the «uniqueness of Jesus Christ.» Civiltà Cattolica stressed that for a Christian «Jesus Christ is the only Savior of all men.»

«In interreligious dialogue, Christianity does not try to make itself accepted by those who profess another religion, but wishes to make itself known in its true nature,» the editorial emphasized. «Interreligious dialogue is authentic only if those who are committed to it present their own religious creed in its authenticity and integrity.»

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