Followed by Dialogue
Professor of Theological Studies, Department of Theological Studies
Loyola Marymount University,Los Angeles, CA, USA --- Email: email@example.com --- June 24, 2014
Francis’s turn to friendship as a model for interreligious dialogue is yet another example of what he calls the “culture of encounter.” This expression has quickly become a catchphrase that sums-up his hopes for the church’s future. In general, Francis uses the notion of encounter to emphasize the church’s need to get over the self-absorption which is making it “sick” and to reach out to the world with humility. The culture of encounter, therefore, is all about the church’s need to respond to the immense diversity of the world today. Of course, this includes religious diversity as well. The encounter with those who follow other religious paths needs to be “open and fruitful.” In his message for World Communications Day, Francis noted that the culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to speak, but to listen as well. In keeping with this view, the pope warns in the Evangelii Gaudium that “fundamentalism” on either side of interreligious dialogue makes true encounter impossible.