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Avery Dulles on the Pan-Religion of Vatican II

In 1977 principal progressivist theologians from around the world met for a conference at the University of Notre Dame, near Chicago, to discuss the future of the Church.

Two years later, Fr. Giuseppe Alberigo, a known Italian historian, decided to select the most radical talks of that meeting and present them in a book for the Italian public. So, in 1979 the book Verso la Chiesa del Terzo Millennio [Towards the Church of the Third Millennium] came to light (Brescia:Queriniana, 1979, 197 pp).

Among the authors selected by Alberigo were Schillebeeckx, Kung, Metz, and Dulles. Yes, the today "moderate" Cardinal Avery Dulles was at that time among the well-known radical progressivists...

What did Dulles defend? He asserted that the time to unite religions by means of conversion is over. The "Church" of the future, according to him, would be a federation of the existent confessions. Each one should transform itself somewhat in order to merge with the ensemble, without renouncing its characteristic doctrines. Dulles called this ensemble the "unam sanctam" [the one and holy]. We call it Pan-Religion. It is the same dream of Pan-Religion that Freemasonry and other secret forces have desired for centuries.

Top right, you can see a facsimile of the book cover. At right, is a photocopy of the Italian text. Below, we present our own translation.

"Vatican II recognized that the life and truth of Christ operate in the other [religious] communities. Consequently, they should not think about abandoning anything that the grace of the Holy Spirit has worked in their midst (UR 4).

"In consideration of these two principles, it can be defended that the Council implicitly taught that the united church of the future will not come about by a capitulation of the other churches and their absorption into Roman Catholicism. The desired una sancta can be a joint creation, which will simultaneously complete and transform all the churches that enter it. The Catholic Church, without being dissolved in any way, would modify herself by entering this embracing unity" (Avery Dulles, "Ecumenismo: Problemi e Possibilita per il Futuro," in Verso la Chiesa del Terzo Millennio, Brescia: Queriniana, 1979, pp. 112-3).
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Posted on May 26, 2005

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