Dialogued to Death
Catholics Support Suspension of Inter-Faith Dialogue

Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

(Posted April 7, 2008 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) One positive fallout from the brouhaha over the Good Friday prayer is that “inter-faith dialogue” was inadvertently exposed  for the wobbly house of cards it has always been. The moment Peter brought Christ the Savior of all men back to the table, his “dialogue partners” began packing up their goodies in disgust, and down went the card house. What does that tell us about inter-faith dialogue?

It’s amazing to consider here in 2008 that grown men and women on both sides of this aisle can with straight faces still claim that a “better understanding” is just around the corner so long as inter-faith dialogue continues unabated. Exactly how long is this process supposed to take? 

For forty years they’ve been gabbing about this ill-defined "dialogue" and yet things have only gone from bad to worse. After all, unearthing fundamental religious differences isn't exactly rocket science: He says Christ was merely a rabbi; she says Christ was only a prophet; they say He is whatever they want Him to be; and we say He is the Son of God. How is a lot of inter-faith palaver going to cause any of these contradictory beliefs to suddenly gel, unless, of course, “divisive” dogma is deep-sixed.  And once that happens how is a “better understanding” of anything ever going to be achieved? It would be like trying to understand what’s wrong with a car while refusing to open its hood. But such contradictions no longer register with the enlightened dialoguers. They remind me of those lunatical sex “educators” in public schools calling for still more sex education after veritable epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases began spreading among vigorously sex-educated teenagers. “Just because it isn’t working doesn’t mean we need to stop using it!”

Madness, they say, is manifested by those who repeat the same action over and over again but expect different results. It would seem that ecumeniacs and sex “educators” have something in common.

Bottom line: Inter-faith dialogue hasn’t worked. Tensions between the religions are getting worse every day. Why? Because inter-faith dialogue doesn’t serve truth—it buries it! And a world without truth quickly descends into barbarism.

Dialogue seems to be premised on a certain unspoken willingness on the part of the Catholic Church to downplay her own doctrine, if not actually renege on her claim to be the one true Church. If there was ever any doubt of this before, there isn’t any now. The Pope revised one prayer to be said once per annum by a minority of Catholics and what did his “dialogue partners” do? As the Bible puts it, they rent their garments. Why?  Because the fundamental rule of dialogue was violated by 9 words written by the pope: “acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind.” Anathema sit!  He has blasphemed!  Dialogue be damned!

Clearly, this sort of dialogue isn’t really about achieving a "better understanding” of anything; our “dialogue partners” understand perfectly well the theological differences the abound.  What they evidently want is for the Church to modify her teachings to say that Christ is Savior but only for Catholics and those who believe in Him--not for all men!  Evidently, this has been the ultimate goal of inter-faith dialogue all along.

Thus Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Reuters Television she couldn’t imagine that this “German pope could impose such phrases upon his church.” Impose what phrases? That Christ is the Savior of all men? Yes, who does he think he is—the POPE? No wonder Alan Brill of Seton Hall concluded that the Pope’s prayer marks “the end of the era of John Paul II, the era of reconciliation.”

The “party crasher” here is Christ, of course.  If Benedict were to hold up Mickey Mouse as the Savior of all men, the dialoguers would no doubt hail his intellectual courage and continue doing whatever it is that dialoguers do. Which brings up an interesting question: What exactly do dialoguers do?  What is their point and purpose?  How often do they dialogue? Can one watch them dialogue on YouTube, for example? What was going on behind dialogue doors all these years to leave poor Mrs. Knobloch convinced that Popes are no longer permitted to pray that all men might acknowledge Christ as savior? Obviously, they weren’t talking about Him in there. One word about the Savior and the dialoguers stormed off in a holy huff. “The inter-religious dialogue has suffered an enormous setback,” Mrs. Knobloch sobbed to Reuters, “because of this version [of the prayer] and I assume that one will find a way very soon to continue the dialogue, but at the moment I don’t see it happening.”

Aside from assuming things will continue that she doesn’t see happening, does Mrs. Knobloch actually imagine anyone gives two hoots about dialogue setbacks when they’re losing their sons and daughters in Iraq, their jobs in India, and their homes in America?  What has inter-faith dialogue done for you lately? As the world plunges into universal warfare (without precedent in human history!), terrorism and economic collapse, is there a single shred of evidence that inter-faith dialogue has been anything other than part of the problem? Cardinal Kasper has devoted his life to it, Mrs. Knobloch thinks it's the bomb, but what does it mean for folks with real jobs, mortgages and mouths to feed?  I can’t imagine!

Has there ever been a clearer indication of the sheer pointlessness of “dialogue” than that the Catholic Church is now expected to set aside her foundational teachings on salvation even in her own prayers and inside her own churches, in order to sit across the table from Mrs. Knobloch and talk about—WHAT? What in thunder does this woman want to talk about?  After a while it begins to seem like flat out kibitzing:

As long as the Catholic Church, that is to say Pope Benedict, does not return to the previous wording, I assume that there will not be any further dialogue in the form that we were able to have in the past.

Yes,  and what a shame, but have a nice day!

In the meantime, the Muslim convert to the Catholic Faith who was baptized by Pope Benedict on Holy Saturday, made a comment that could formulate the caption beneath this whole tragic picture. Shortly after Magdi Allam, 55, had been baptized into Christianity – taking the name “Christian” as his baptismal name – he asserted that the “Catholic Church has been too prudent about conversions of Muslims, abstaining from proselytizing in majority Muslim countries and keeping quiet about the reality of converts in Christian countries”. 

Welcome to the Titanic, Magdi! The Catholic Church since Vatican II has been “too prudent” about most things, especially teaching her own doctrines to her own children. Want proof?  Ask a Catholic sixth grader what the hypostatic union is, or the beatific vision, or even the Fourth Glorious Mystery.  Better yet, ask him to give you the Ten Commandments.  At best, he’ll hand you a DVD of a Charlton Heston film.

The Church has been pro-life, yes, but, honestly, she’s the Catholic Church—of course, she’s pro-life!  Isn’t it time she became outspokenly pro-Catholic again and maybe—just maybe!—started reaching those little girls before they get themselves so bollixed up and confused that abortionists, rather than Catholic priests, seem their best bet?

Our best bet is that the sheer folly of inter-faith dialogue will be fully recognized by the hierarchy before any more of the Catholic Church is swallowed up whole by the Novus Ordo Seculorum. Pope Benedict speaks often and eloquently about reclaiming Catholic identity—what better way to do just that than to suspend this pointless exercise in futility and get back to the business of preaching the Catholic Faith, whole and entire, to all the nations of the world.

We would, therefore, like to make common cause with our Jewish dialogue partners who in recent weeks have suspended dialogue with the Catholic Church over the revised Good Friday prayer.  This, it seems to us, is wise beyond words and we urge our Catholic leaders to support this initiative without delay.