Redemptoris Missio 55a: Inter-Religious Dialogue

With this paragraph we read of three sections on the topic “Dialogue with Our Brothers and Sisters of Other Religions.” This is an area with much misunderstanding. Christians have a less than stellar record when it comes to interacting with people of other faiths. We’ve been closely associated with many of the sins of colonialism. Non-Christian religion is often trampled with other non-European cultural aspects. We have a lot of work to do, regardless. Starting with dialogue:

Inter-religious dialogue is a part of the Church’s evangelizing mission. Understood as a method and means of mutual knowledge and enrichment, dialogue is not in opposition to the mission ad gentes; indeed, it has special links with that mission and is one of its expressions.

On a most basic level, if one does not know one’s audience, one has little hope of recognizing the aspirations of a stranger. On the other hand, a friend will often express curiosity to a trusted Christian. There is one point of witness.

This mission, in fact, is addressed to those who do not know Christ and his Gospel, and who belong for the most part to other religions. In Christ, God calls all peoples to himself and he wishes to share with them the fullness of his revelation and love.

It is important to remember God’s presence is not confined to sacraments:

He does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression, even when they contain “gaps, insufficiencies and errors.”(Address at the opening of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Council, September 29, 1963; cf. Nostra Aetate 2; Lumen Gentium 16; Ad Gentes 9; Evangelii Nuntiandi 53) All of this has been given ample emphasis by the Council and the subsequent Magisterium, without detracting in any way from the fact that salvation comes from Christ and that dialogue does not dispense from evangelization.(Cf. Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam (1964); Ad Gentes 11, 41; Secretariat for Non-Christians, Document L’atteggiamento della Chiesa di fronte ai seguaci di altre religioni: Riflessioni e orientamenti su dialogo e missione (1984))

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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