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Posted July 7, 2004

Book: Catholicism in Dialogue: Conversations Across Traditions
Author: Wayne Teasdale
Sheed & Ward, New York. Pp. 199

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

All over the world, religions are challenged to find common ground in the cause of peace and justice, and in the face of war and exploitation. Stereotypes, antipathies, and sectarian isolation continue to rob religion of the impact it can have in fostering a better world.

Drawing on his extensive knowledge and experience of ecumenical cooperation, Roman Catholic lay brother and monk Wayne Teasdale offers a strong and prophetic voice for interfaith dialogue that brings traditions together without watering them down. He offers a blueprint for combining the strengths and perspectives of various faiths in order to address the crisis of poverty, racism, environmental pollution, and moral indifference.

Teasdale advocates the teaching of the Roman Catholic tradition with a spiritual insight and prophetic wisdom that is both secure in faith and enriched by contact with the great world religions. Highly accessible and compelling, Catholicism in Dialogue is visionary, hopeful, and deeply inspiring.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Continuing Ecological Crisis

The progressive deterioration of the environment that we are witnessing, the grave problem of the decline of biodiversity as more and more precious species become extinct because of irresponsible actions of the human species, the disappearance of clean water, rich soil, and unpolluted air, are all deeply disturbing trends that are harbingers of a difficult future for life on Earth. The magnitude of this problem exceeds human calculation. It is beyond doubt the primary moral crisis of our age, since the fate of the Earth will settle all other merely human concerns. We need to focus on this crisis, and the church, I believe, has to take a leadership role in educating the faithful and the world population in what precisely is expected of each one of us, for we have all contributed to this nightmare fast approaching on all sides. More and more I am of the view that the Catholic Church’s ascetical teaching should be emphasized, applying it to the realm of consumption and encouraging everyone to embrace voluntarily simplicity of life, with less and less unnecessary consumption. We must simplify our lives. We no longer have a choice in this matter, if we want to survive on this precious island in the cosmos. I believe it is still not too late for humankind.

Table of Contents:

Part I: Background

1. The conversation begins
2. The historical roots of interreligious dialogue in the Catholic Church
3. The nature, types, and fruits of dialogue

Part II: Views of Dialogue

4. The presence and example of Pope John Paul II
5. The official magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church on interreligious encounter and dialogue

Part III: Contradictions in the Understanding of the Church

6. The three basic positions on the other religious traditions
7. Tensions between mission and dialogue
8. Interreligious encounter and dialogue: the existential reality

Part IV: The Historical Horizon of the Dialogue’s Possible Future

9. Reading the signs of the times: a possible new course for the Catholic Church
10. The Catholic Church and the crisis of the world