The Catholic Church in Dialogue with Non-Christian Faith Traditions: Engaging Jacques Dupuis's Model of Religious Pluralism with Walter Ong's Concept of Dialogic Openness in Media Society
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The main objective of this dissertation is to argue that there is the need (theologically and socially) for the Catholic Church to explore the application of the theological assumption of inclusive religious pluralism proposed by Jacques Dupuis in collaboration with Walter Ong's advocacy of dialogic openness of the media society in the Church's approach to interfaith dialogue with non-Christian faith traditions. In order to advance the Church's theological development in her search for successful interreligious dialogue with non-Christian religions and their peoples, this dissertation will argue that there is need for the Church to acknowledge that religious pluralism is not only a de facto (matter of fact) social reality but also a de jure (matter of principle) of God's relationship with the people God created. This dissertation will argue that this is an imperative theological assumption, indispensable for truly honest, lasting, respectful, and successful interreligious dialogues with peoples of non-Christian faiths. Dupuis' concept of religious pluralism, which is sensitive not only to the theological reality of God's relationship with human nature but also to the social global reality, needs appropriate media to promote and sustain the desired enduring interreligious and inter-cultural dialogue so needed and indispensable in the world today. This study will thus also propose that the appropriate means to promote such dialogue can be found in a pluralistic media culture that exhibits the dynamics articulated in Walter Ong's concept of "dialogic openness." It follows therefore that Ong's notion of a media society characterized by dialogic openness will provide a safe vehicle for promoting more enduring and effective interreligious dialogue based on the model of inclusive religious pluralism of Dupuis. The theological arguments of this study will be based on some relevant historical developments in the theology of universal salvation in the Catholic tradition, especially from papal documents dating from the 19th century through the Second Vatican Council and further into post Vatican II major ecclesial documents. Theological insights of several pluralist theologians will be examined to underscore the fact that Jacques Dupuis' inclusive religious pluralism did not emanate from a vacuum. Walter's Ong's dialogic openness will be examined with emphasis on his advocacy for collaboration of the different media stages of development as well as the different types of media. To accomplish the objective of this study, important parallels between Dupuis' concept of religious pluralism and Ong's notion of dialogic openness through the media in a pluralistic society will be identified. Conclusively, this study will be arguing that if a media society operates on the basis of Ong's dialogic openness, hence establishing the appropriate forums of engagement and dialogic interactions among peoples of diverse religious faith traditions and cultures based on Dupuis' inclusive religious pluralism, there is a greater likelihood for all religions in human society to collaborate effectively toward resolving many common social, economic, environmental, global, and political challenges that confront the human society today.