When Pilate, with reverential fear, asked Christ about his sovereignty, he answered: ‘You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’ (Jn 18:37) Was Our Lord perhaps being a fundamentalist in making this affirmation with so much conviction and resolve? Since he is God, made man, the Truth in substance, he could not have acted differently.
In the same way, his Church could not but be the sole holder of truth, for as Saint Paul affirmed, it is ‘the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth’ (1Tim 3:15). The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Church ‘faithfully guards ‘the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’ She guards the memory of Christ’s words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles’ confession of faith’ (CCC no. 171). Moreover, the Divine Master left the Apostles a mandate: “The gospel must first be preached to all nations” (Mk 13:10). Therefore, the primordial objective of the Catholic Church’s dialogue with other religions consists of the announcing of the Gospel, and the call to conversion.
However, Jesus declared that those who did not accept his Gospel would be condemned: ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned’ (Mk 16:15–16). Consequently, he made it clear that the Church should define positions well: those who follow the truth, and those who persist in error. In face of other religions, every Christian has the duty to ‘not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord’ (2Tim 1:8). The Catechism teaches: “In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep ‘a clear conscience toward God and toward men’ (Acts 24:16)” (CCC 2471)
Being faithful to the truth of the Church is not fundamentalism, but integrity in the faith. Interreligious dialogue that does not point toward conversion, but holds the belief that the Church is enriched and purified with other creeds places the truth of the Church in doubt, in the spirit of Pilate: ‘quid est veritas?’ (Jn 18:38). Dialogue which doubts in the one who affirmed ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (Jn 14:6) cannot ‘have meaning of love and truth,’ but amounts to sheer relativism. And the Apocalypse is exceedingly severe with relativists: ‘because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth’ (Rev 3:16)
What does the Magisterium pronounce with respect to true interreligious dialogue? Click here…