.- Interreligious dialogue allows the people of different religions each to witness to their faith and religious experience and to grow in greater understanding of each other. However, participants in this dialogue need not abdicate their beliefs in the process, said Cardinal Ivan Dias.
The prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples gave a conference March 8 on evangelization in the context of religious pluralism. The conference was held at the Pontifical Gregorian University to mark the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Faculty of Missiology.
“Interreligious dialogue is an indirect manner of evangelizing through which Christians present their identity and listen to the religious convictions of their non-Christian interlocutors. It is a question of explaining and proposing one’s faith without wanting to impose it,” the cardinal told the conference.
Recalling the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions, Cardinal Dias said: “Christians must strive to discover in these traditions the working of the Holy Spirit … and, free of any superiority complex, lead these traditions to full knowledge of the truth in Jesus Christ.”
However, care must be taken that one’s faith not be diminished in the process, he warned.
“Under the pretext of not hindering interreligious dialogue some even put Jesus, true God and true Man, on the same level as the founders, some of them mythological, of these religions,” he stated. “This attitude is contrary to Our Lord’s mandate to preach the Gospel and make disciples throughout the world.”
“The interlocutor must be consistent with his religious traditions and convictions and ready to understand those of the other person, without dissimulation or closing but with truth, humility, honesty, aware that dialogue can enrich both parties,” he explained.
The Cardinal noted that Christians can find in non-Christian religions certain values of their faith, which they may have forgotten or neglected, such as rigorous fasting, frequent prayer, and asceticism.
There are different forms of interreligious dialogue, the Cardinal Dias said: dialogue of life, in which people strive to live in a spirit of openness towards others; dialogue of deeds, in which Christians and other believers cooperate; dialogue of theological sharing; and dialogue of religious experience.