Dialogue & the Local Church

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An authentic dialogue with other religius traditions is the task of a local  Church, fully involved in the life and struggles of the people, especially the poor. It is also an intergal element in the process of building up authentic local Churches in Aisa.

A Holistic Perspective of Dialogue

            We have recalled more than once that the bishops of Aisa see evangelisation as a building up of the local Church involving a threefold dialogue with the culture, the religions and the poor ofAsia. One might tend to see inculturation, interreligious dialogue and liberation as independent activities. As a matter of fact, one could say that interreligiouds dialogue often takes place today among “religious” persons at a private, personal lavel. But it is in the context of meeting together the challenges of inculturation and liberation that interreligious dialogue becomes real and relevant. It must therefore be seen in this holistic perspective. Otherwise, interreligious dialogue, as religion itself, will be alienating.


To Dare and to Experiment

            As we have recalled at the very beginning, one of the main characteristics ofAsia is its multireligious situation. We cannot therefore build authentic local Churches inAsia with a spirituality, theology, liturgy, church organisation and ways of liberation appropriate to their life and mission without taking seriously the challenge of the other religions and entering into dialogue with them. This can happen only if the Asian local Churches feel responsible for themselves and their misson, with freedom to dare and to experiment, to create and to learn from mistakes.


The Universal Church

            It is through the growth of such local Churches that the Church will become truly Catholic or universal. For theUniversalChurch is a communion of local Churches, each rooted in a particular place, culture and tradition, but open to all the others, united to them in the faith and contributing to the wholr its special gifts. It is in this way that “the Catholic Church strives energetically and constantly to bring all humanity with all its riches back to Christ its Head in the unity of his Spirit”.

FABC – Theological Advisory Commission Documents


Federation Of Asian Bishops' Conferences,

Dialogues? Resource Manual For Catholics in Asia, 2001, p. 97.

Editor : Edmund Chia, FSC