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On Fostering Ecclesial Dialogue: Engaging Contrasting Ecclesiologies

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Dialogue is widely acknowledged as a basic practice constitutive of the church's internal and external identity and mission. Advancing ecclesial dialogue by learning from a phenomenology of its practices and cultivating apt virtues is necessary but insufficient. These efforts are often thwarted because divergent ecclesiological approaches to dialogue stand in tension with one another. This paper explores how three trajectories in Roman Catholic ecclesiology develop contrasting approaches to the role of dialogue in the church: personalist, correlationist, and contextual. The final part of the paper proposes three topics where there are convergences about the dialogical mandate amidst these contrasting orientations: the dynamic character of faith and tradition, the synodal imperative, and the need to debate the synodal agenda for the church in response to the global signs of the times.


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