Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Dialogue Done Right

November 25th, 2010, Promulgated by benanderson

We hear a lot about dialogue in this diocese and there seems to be a good many events centered around the concept. I’ve never attended such an event, but one gets the sense that when dialoguing with non-Catholics, our Catholic representatives might  say something like:

oh no – I’m not one of those Catholics.  You’re offended that women can’t be priests?  So am I.  You think homosexuals should be allowed to marry?  So do I.  You believe that god is in everyone and all we need to be silent and listen to our inner selves and connect to the ultimate life force?  Yeah – I could buy that.  You see – not all Catholics are caught up in old-school theology.  Many of us are willing to grow and expand our minds.

That’s just speculation, but it’s educated speculation because that’s the kind of message we hear preached to those of us on the inside.  So I’d imagine they’d say something similar to those on the outside.  Because dialogue is often confused with such appeasement and bending of beliefs, many orthodox have come to see it as a bad thing.  This isn’t necessarily right, though, as the saying goes – abusus no tollit usum (the abuse does not invalidate use).  I recently read an example of a good use of dialogue over at Dave Armstrong’s blog.  He has a ton of useful and very smart articles on his site, so poke around there a little bit.  In this post, Dave describes his interaction with a group of local atheists.  Here’s what the leader of the group had to say about Dave:

I had the opportunity last Friday to sit down with some Catholics and just spend an evening discussing some of our disagreements. It was me along with another atheist (who I met for the first time) and a few Catholics. It was put together by Dave Armstrong. I really appreciate Dave. He’s one of those people that is able to sit down and disagree with me strongly, but do it in a way that makes for productive and friendly dialogue. Not all Christians can do this, nor can all skeptics.

and Dave’s closing paragraph says it all:

And that is the whole goal of apologetics, and particularly the dialogical apologetics that I specialize in: to help people (by God’s grace) avoid theological and philosophical errors and to be more confident in their Christian and Catholic beliefs, by understanding solid intellectual rationales for same. We remove obstacles and roadblocks. What the person will do with that information is a function of their minds and free wills and God’s grace, and that is out of the apologist’s hands.


2 Responses to “Dialogue Done Right”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Wait a minute. This diocese does not really dialogue. It’s cum-bay-a feel good nunsense. Where was the dialogue with the cathedral incident, the supression of the Catholic physicians and the numerous closings of parishes and schools.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    In the 11-21-10 OLOL and SaintAnne Bulletin, they are asking for thoughts why there is a decline in Mass attendance. Imagine that! They can’t figure it out…
    Cluster Pastoral Council article from OLoL and Saint Anne Bulletin- 11-21-10

    At this month’s meeting of the Cluster Pastoral Council,
    Karen Rinefierd, our Diocesan Liaison from the Office ofPastoral
    Planning, provided us with both a picture of the Diocese as
    a whole and a picture of our cluster parishes.
    Karen explained Diocesan strategies to deal with the stagnant
    population growth within the Diocese and the decline in available
    priests. The Diocese has sharpened its focus and put more
    resources into increasing vocations. (There are now 10 major
    seminarians within the Diocese.) As in our parishes, the Diocese
    has been using either retired priests or foreign priests to help deal
    with this decline. Karen did say that the closing of churches has
    been driven by financial issues and not by the declining number
    of priests. The process of clustering has been happening
    throughout the Diocese as has the use of pastoral administrators
    who are not priests. (There are now 16 such persons in the Diocese
    including three deacons, five women religious, six laywomen
    and two laymen. )

    The picture of our cluster parishes shows a significant decline
    in Mass attendance over the past 10 years. Reflecting the mix of
    people in our parishes, it is not surprising that there have been
    more funerals (44) than Baptisms (25) in the cluster in 2010. We
    were also given other demographic information about our parishes
    and the areas in which we are located. The Cluster Council
    plans to use this information to help frame its priorities.

    Please let us have your thoughts about these or other issues of
    interest to you. You may email
    or Sr. Joan

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