Dialogue’ the message of the Church?
Michael Bradley | Sunday, February 19, 2012
I was enjoying your article (“Church should be open to change,” Feb. 16) until I happened upon this amazing sentence: “If anything, Jesus would promote a collaborative dialogue.”
Christ’s response to disagreement with the truths he came to reveal was not a call for “dialogue.” While revealing himself as the Way, Truth and Life, Christ didn’t waste time dialoguing with his opponents because he understood when “dialogue” was no longer fruitful. He didn’t “dialogue” with the throngs who abandoned him after his Eucharistic discourse; he didn’t “dialogue” with the pharisees as they accused him of blasphemy and sacrilege — in fact he said nothing at all for most of the evening.
Christ did engage the marginalized, misaligned and misunderstood members of his society in a manner considered scandalous, true. But Christ always understood that his mission, to achieve for mankind atonement and salvation through his life, Passion and Resurrection, ought not to be compromised by “collaborative dialogue” if the pursuit of the latter would interfere with the achievement of the former.
I was similarly baffled when you asserted that “discussion with all people … remains the true message of Christian action and love.” The true mission of the Church, in action and in charity, remains precisely what Christ commissioned his disciples to do two millennia ago — to promulgate, teach, affirm, uphold and witness to, with joy and charity, the truths which he revealed through his own life and teachings.
“Dialogue” can be a good and fruitful means of arriving at truth, and ought to be pursued and utilized. But it must not be pursued beyond the context in which it is fruitful and conducive toward fulfilling Christ’s mission and the Church’s: the promulgation and affirmation of the Good News. Christian members of our relativized and secularized culture, and our own beloved university, would do well to reevaluate their own cherished enshrinement of “collaborative dialogue” and instead endeavor to more authentically witness to the truths of the faith which Christ commissioned his Church to uphold and affirm, because this will be more fruitful than any “dialogue.”