Sunday, November 30, 2008

Benedict on interreligious dialogue: How religions talk with each other

Nov 28, 2008
by John L. Allen, Jr.

Friday, November 28, 2008 Any literary scholar will tell you that the key to interpreting a text is identifying its genre. It’s a point clearly applicable to news this week that Pope Benedict XVI has said that “interreligious dialogue, in the strict sense of the term, is not possible” -- a statement which, at face value, would seem to undercut 50 years of official dialogues with other faiths sponsored by the Catholic church, not to mention the theological vision of Nostrae Aetate, the document of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) on relations with non-Christian religions.

Among other things, the Vatican actually has its own Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, whose personnel may be surprised to learn that their work, according to the boss, is a logical non-starter.

Faced with such a puzzling declaration, the first thing to ask is, “What was its genre?” the rest


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