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This may not necessarily be the task of a relatively short "doctrinal note" or of a so-called "notification", as in the case of Dupuis on It can also be noted as positive that there were up to now neither in the case of Phan nor before in Dupuis' case sentences or even disciplinary measures. Since there is still an open horizon, - which should be fearlessly paced out by theory, practice and spirituality of mission -, for the issues addressed in the publications of the theologians as well as of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, some comments may be added.

About the topic of Interreligious Dialogue the note expressly emphasizes its necessity. It was a "sharing that provides a valuable occasion for witnessing and for Christian proclamation" No.

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But is it only one "occasion" among many others? Is that the right approach to an understanding of "dialogue" as comprehensive event of communication? Is dialogue not the atmosphere of any life, without which there is no understanding, no culture, no creativity and no religion? Conspicuous is the timid caution with which one talks about dialogue and at once warns against its dangers: Through dialogue "sin can enter in", it could serve "selfish motives" No.

Such warnings, not least against the risk of "relativism" in the search for truth No. But first however one wants at last, also in a Roman document, a deeper perception and anthropological-theological recognition and appreciation of the dialogue in its basic understanding as exchange of experience, life and hope, starting with sensitively listening to God's presence in the "other person".

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All those who today are on the path to a promising spirituality, theology and also practice of mission and of passing on the faith and mission need a considerable amount of courage and frankness - and they should more and more be allowed to hope for signs of positive encouragement by their bishops.

Only in meeting , in the ability for perception, relationship and dialogue those in each case new "transitions" see Acts 16, into other geographical, cultural and religious areas and worlds become possible, which let grow a church that can be - in a way today not yet visible - a truly comprehensive sacrament of salvation, a visible sign of unity in diversity , and a welcoming house of faith for all, and therefore will be fitted out "with many mansions".

Under anthropological aspects faith and mission are expression and fruit of relationship, exchange and relation. God himself as the Triune is "in relation"; he has not created man as "single" or as monad. Thus there is a primordial obligation to meet the "other person" in the way of dialogue, because in the perspective of the theology of Creation everything and everyone - like man and woman - is intended for complementarity and can in being related to each other find a new identity, and reach a new quality of life.

Hence dialogue in its fundamental anthropological dimension - as ability for perception, communication and relationship - is much more than an aspect or a strategic component or a way among others of mission. Dialogue is the key word for any verbal and non-verbal communication event. In the biography of the individual human being, in culture and history any experience of values, esteem, acceptance, beauty and also of God happens always in the way of Incarnation, because it is an experience communicated by dialogue: The God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ to man and creation is witnessed in historical concreteness and interpersonal relationship.

This revelation and its testimony is not a one-off act. Just in a world and in a universe that is more and more understood and experienced as evolution it is subject to a constant change.

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Doctrinal Note on some aspects of evangelization.

In the document there is no mention of such a deep anthropological implication of mission. Well, it is rightly said that the truth of our faith is not a result of human thought and action, but a gift that becomes fully accessible to us on the common and solidary path of faith, communicated by many "interpersonal and social relationships" No. This way of communicating is always a way in freedom, in the esteem of the otherness of the other person, and in attention to the truth that can be hidden in the other person, a way of reciprocity in giving and taking.

Above all theologians of Asia long since deal with three sets of questions, which are difficult in a de facto pluralistic world and on the answer to which much will depend for the credibility and the ability for adaptation of a missionary church. Could the real pluralism of cultures and religions not also be understood as outflow of the Triune God's Creation overflowing in generosity, without questioning by this view the uniqueness and centrality of the Christian revelation and the importance of Jesus Christ?

Has God in his "dialogue" with the universe not spoken in "many and varied ways" Heb 1, 1? Should you not take pleasure in such wealth and such beauty? This thought directly leads to the next challenge to theology, the answer to which must have consequences for ecclesiology, mission and interreligious and interdenominational dialogue.

Dupuis e. He calls the unique and unparalleled Christ event "sacrament of God's universal will for salvation". It is singular in its historical concreteness, but at the same time in a trans-historical way inwardly connected with all the other manifestations of God's love and salvation will, e. Hence this theological paradigm is not "exclusive"; it does not simply exclude God's presence and work in the "other person " with reference to Christ's lasting uniqueness, nor does it devalue it as irrelevant.

But it is also not just "inclusive" in a way that allows other religions only certain "traces" and "seeds" and moreover expects that they some day turn in their entirety to the Christian tradition and the Catholic Church.

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Only due to the fact that it regards also other religions as possible partial manifestations of God's creativity and salvation will, the relational view cannot be called "relativistic". It does not encourage relativism and ideological pluralism for the simple reason that it steadfastly stands by the centrality of the Christ event and the necessity actively to testify it mission. According to the relational paradigm the Christian revelation can admittedly still be "enriched" by other forms of the presence of God's love. It is "complementary". It does not bank on the "abolition" of what just now is not yet in the full light of revelation and Jesus Christ's church.

On the contrary, trusting to the missionary-transforming power of Christ's Spirit, which remains promised until the end of creation's history, it is convinced of the constant growth of all people in knowledge and faith - up to the 'full age of Christ' Eph. After all, it is a matter of a theology inspired by the Asian horizon to be open to the questions of historical transformations in the global world, to the questions of evolution in its various dimensions cosmological, biological-genetic, historical , finally to the questions and dangers, but also to the possibilities of creative design resulting from the meeting of religions for the global world.

Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization

Such a pious, intellectual and solidary movement has for Christians - not just in Asia - its starting-point in the unalterable "Alpha" Jesus Christ, and recognizes in eschatological perspective, i. The Kingdom of God with its abundance of life for everyone is the common goal of Christianity and other religions. It is the actual and final aim also of the church and its mission.

Thus on the one hand the note is to be welcomed with its clear encouragement of the personal testimony. For with all the complexity of dialogue as medium of mission and faith-sharing it must really become clearer for Christians than it is today for many of them that dialogue is no arbitrary verbal happening.

Only that interreligious dialogue will be meaningful and purposeful which contributes the believing, the though fragmentary God-experience of one's own, the courage to profess, but also to perceive respectfully and silently different life- and God-experiences, and to joint search for convergences. But in its understanding of mission the "Note" de facto quite dominantly takes its starting-point from the so-called "mission orders" of the synoptists, especially from Mk 16, 15f. Other complementary, not contradictory views of the New Testament, such as the word of the promise of "life in abundance" John 10, 10 are, if at all, only discernible in a very reserved manner.

Unfortunately a clear reference to Luke 4, is missing, to that liberating manifesto of Nazareth, where Jesus defines his mission to the poor and prisoners and the blind. All that lets the "Note" and its terminology appear ecclesio-centric and defensive-apologetic, also because at the end, without the topic "dialogue" having been taken up in a differentiating way there is again talk of "relativism and irenicism prevalent today in the area of religion" No.

Evangelization, Ecumenism and Religious Liberty

This is all the more regrettable because on the other hand there are quite positive statements, e. Since the note in the title does not speak of mission but of evangelization, it could have actually been expected that in the Kingdom-of-God-perspective a much wider range of challenges would have been presented for a lasting passing on of faith and for designing a fairer world out of faith. The actual identification of the terms "mission" and "evangelization", in which theology, pastoral and by the way also the church aid organisations point out some important, though complementary distinctions, is by no means helpful.

So, it is our duty to evangelize, to teach in His name without fear or intimidation by others so that all may come to know Him. As the Doctrinal Note points out:. The Christian spirit has always been animated by a passion to lead all humanity to Christ in the Church. The incorporation of new members into the Church is not the expansion of a power-group, but rather entrance into the network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different continents and ages.


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The Kingdom of God is not—as some maintain today—a generic reality above all religious experiences and traditions, to which they tend as a universal and indistinct communion of all those who seek God, but it is, before all else, a person with a name and a face: Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the unseen God. Therefore, every free movement of the human heart towards God and towards his kingdom cannot but by its very nature lead to Christ and be oriented towards entrance into his Church, the efficacious sign of that Kingdom.

Indeed, love impels the followers of Christ to proclaim to all the truth which saves. RJA sj.

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