If [Fr Thomas] Reese [on NCR] is concerned about ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, then he is faced with a different kind of problem. Traditionis Custodes has set the Church’s relations with other religions back fifty years, and it is difficult to see how they will recover.
On interreligious dialogue, defined as discussions aimed at greater mutual understanding between the Church and non-Christian religions, the Apostolic Letter and the polemic being produced by Fr. Reese and others in its support is saying that a genuine engagement of the religious instinct is impossible through worship in a sacred language, using chant, complex ceremonies, elaborate vestments, and so on. That, as they say, is a point of view. But it is a point of view incompatible with taking seriously the search for God represented by Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jain religion, Shamanic religions, and indeed practically any non-Christian religion you could mention. Sacred languages are found in all the major non-Christian religions — Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Classical Arabic most obviously — and sacred music, ritual, and clothing, in practically all of them.
How are Catholic interreligious dialoguers going to face their non-Christian friends the next time they meet? “It okay”, they might say. “It is only our own traditions which we fear and loath: We think yours are wonderful!” How credible is this going to be?
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