Volume 4 Issue 2 Fall 2018

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 4 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 1 8 7 Martin Dojčár Twenty-five years after the promulgation of Nostra aetate, another important Church’s document on interreligious dialogue was issued, Dialogue and Proclamation (1991). Here, the “double commitment” of the Roman Catholic Church to proclamation and dialogue was discussed in more depth. What is your stance on this issue of bringing together proclamation and dialogue when they seem to be in direct contradiction? As is the case with understanding “dialogue” as a conversation/discussion about doctrine, the problem here is understanding proclamation as the assertion of doctrine(s) that must be believed to assure one’s eternal salvation. Proclamation of the Gospel means proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified – proclaiming by our lives more than by our words the love that God revealed to the world in the person of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, a love that is also revealed in the fruits of the Spirit, which are also found outside the parameters of Christian faith and practice. Words come into play when we are asked to give an account of the hope that is in us (see 1 Peter 3:15). If our lives do not raise curiosity and questions, then our verbal proclamation can easily be regarded as proselytizing. 4 The Dialogue of Spiritual Experience Perspectives vs. Critique and Skepticism Despite its solid doctrinal foundations, interfaith dialogue is not always welcomed among Christians, clergy, and even theologians, and is confronted with the old exclusivist mentality. How would you address suspicions and doubts concerning the dialogue on the side of Christians? I would address such suspicions and doubts by referring to and developing what Pierre de Béthune has to say about being firmly rooted in one’s own religious tradition. We have mentioned today just a few pioneers of interfaith dialogue who made their impact in history and, at least for some of us, become examples of the possibility of building bridges instead of walls, attempting at understanding instead of ignorance, spreading compassion and love instead of animosity and hatred. My concern is: Who will follow to continue their mission of building bridges in the divided world? Finally, I would like to hear from you at the end of our dialogue on dialogue and spirituality: What is your account of the future of interreligious dialogue, what are the perspectives of dialogue of spiritual experience in particular? The center of activity of interreligious dialogue, more specifically, monastic interreligious dialogue, is shifting from Europe and North America, where age is taking its toll and there is not much sign of interest among the younger monks and nuns and beginning to develop in Asia and Africa. A monk from Korea has recently completed his doctorate at Regis College, University of Toronto, with a dissertation on Thomas Merton’s dialogue with Buddhism. A monk from Kenya, now living at a newly founded monastery in Egypt, is completing his doctorate at the Pontifical Institute for the Study of Arabic and Islam. I have encouraged both and offered them editorial assistance in writing their dissertations. They are enthused about returning to their home countries and continents and promoting monastic interreligious dialogue there. Thank you very much for sharing your insights with the Spirituality Studies readers!