Thursday, April 19, 2012


It’s always nice to hit a home run on your last “at-bat” (as Lee Iacocca once said, when leaving Chrysler)—CADEIO did exactly that with the last seminar presentation, by Fr Tom Baima (from Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary) on the topic of the need for intra-religious dialogue.  This means conversation within the confines of the Catholic Church’s theological range.

            While Fr John Borelli observed that he saw three styles of interpretation of Vatican II’s documents—the more discontinuous line of aggiornamento,  the moderate line of “development,” and the sense of reaching back to the Scriptures and the Fathers that is ressourcement , Fr Baima added a fourth—“traditionalism” (in the sense of those who lean toward the views of the Society of St Pius X in liturgy and theology).  And he insists that we must enter into dialogue with all these views because they are (in differing ways) all competing for “acceptance” in the Church today.   How will we all engage each other in authentic and honest dialogue?

            Perhaps a good place to begin, according to Fr Baima, is to understand the world-view that is being imposed upon the world (and therefore the Church)—one in which tolerance for all things is preached—except for the view that there might exist a unique, universal truth somewhere?  Catholics who are labeled as “traditionalist” often embrace what some call a reversion to the past precisely as a way of “pushing back” against this kind of view, and of establishing what John Allen has called “evangelical Catholicism.”

            Fr Baima suggests that the major question that “ad intra” dialogue needs to address is the status of non-Catholic religions.  This might seem to be foolish—after all, hasn’t Vatican II in several crucial documents already answered this question?  Not entirely—there are those in the Catholic Church who do not recognize the teaching authority of that Council, arguing it was a pastoral Council only.  So we must go back, in a sense, to square one for this dialogue.

            I will end with a video clip that Fr Baima says can make anyone fervent for ecumenism in one minute…Unless, of course, this is the view of Christianity we want the world to have.

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