Eric Sammons over at OnePeterFive (Why did I not hear of this site before yesterday?) has posted an excellent article on the problems with dialogue with libchurchers (my word, not his). His summary of the process of dialogue reflects very well what I’ve seen in the Anglican Communion and in mainline Protestant denominations:
The Teaser: Some fringe radical theologian, or perhaps even a bishop, proposes a new teaching/practice contrary to Catholic Tradition.
The Trouble: Progressives come around to embrace the idea, and begin to promote it more and more vigorously. Faithful Catholics, on the other hand, resist the proposal, noting its conflict with perennial Church teaching/practice.
The “Muddle”: Progressives, as well as their unwitting lackeys among conservative Catholics, call for “dialogue.”
The Triumph: Progressives continue calling for dialogue ad infinitum until the progressive proposal is accepted either de jure or de facto. (Sorry, 60’s progressives – forgot the trigger warning before all that Latin).
The Kicker: Reset to a new “normal” before beginning the process all over again for the next, more radical, issue.
Too true. Do read his whole straight-spoken yet thoughtful article for more.
I have long distrusted “dialogue” as a sham, a tactic libchurchers use to browbeat traditionalists until they get their way. Then the matter is settled, of course. “Dialogue” seems to always win with liberal victory over Biblical truth and morality. And that, in fact, is the plan and only acceptable outcome for most libchurchers who clamor for dialogue.
And in “dialogue,” libchurchers usually deny or distort what God has clearly said in His Word. Heck, the key words in the first serpentine dialogue were “Did God actually say . . .?” As Eve found out the hard way, dialogue with liars is pointless and dangerous.
Better if Eve had said, “Shut up, snake.” And best we follow the example of the Fathers and put lying heretics and apostates in their place instead of “dialoguing” with them. For “dialogue” with lies only serves to add legitimacy to lies and liars.
Please note that cutting off false teachers and clergy is what is called for. Humble sincere seekers and new converts (or those who later in life decide to get more serious about their faith) are virtually all little heretics in some fashion, as I was, until they undergo patient orthodox Biblical instruction. Gentle, loving but persistent teaching and discussion with them is a vital part of good evangelism and catechism.