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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.



  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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January 03, 2008


JustMe AAIM trying to get all Austin religions into one room to do something in common in particular, like build houses for the poor a la Habitat, etc, or like the Interreligious Cooperative Food Ministries which sat us all Catholic, Quaker, Jew, and every hue of Protestant to report/brainstorm every month on how the soup kitchens/food pantries were holding up to need in the city? Or is AAIM simply trying to make one Austin religion?

My first thought was very brief, tho'. Sure, we have obligation to evangelize rather than say all religions are the same even when Christ isn't in it..but what did Mother Teresa say to all the poor around her, most of whom weren't Christian, let alone Catholic? She was all about their dignity, too. I think she simply lived what she believed was of love, the best she could and the best she could get her Sisters to. I don't back down or back out when someone slams or snorts at Catholicism, but I proselytize in words only to kids in religious ed or to folks in RCIA (and in the blogworld). Maybe words are secondary or even useless in most situations.

Deacon DW

Yes, AAIM is trying to get all Austin religions into one room to work for a common cause. That was what attracted me initially to it, and the reason that it had a good number of Catholic parishes as members. I am not aware but I assume they still have Catholic members, although now their membership is open to Wicca groups and Scientology, which was not the case when I was affiliated with them.

There was also a strong ecumenical effort at work in AAIM. This too was an attracting factor to me. However, the more involved I became, the more the more the inconsistencies of pluralism became evident. At least from my perspective as a staff member I had to personally decide whether I accepted religious truth as pluralistic, and therefore relative rather than absolute. It was Dominus Iesus that became the decisive factor for me.

I am not opposed to every aspect of what AAIM does. I believe that they serve an important purpose in the community; however, they do lend themselves to pluralism. It's not that they want to make one religion, but that they tend to view all things as equal.


Hmm.. it seems the same reason today as it was those many years ago in the Protestant reformation: catholic Christians choosing their own agenda over God's. I know so many Catholics who have chosen to walk away from the Church; some are honest enough to not drag the Tabernacle with them to their deceptive new digs.

That is a whole other ballgame, tho', from what Muslims and Jews are charged to do, which is to uphold their religion under pain of sin or punishment. Neither Wicca nor Scientology is a religion, but I have been to numerous interfaith gatherings otherwise, and I must say that although all were careful and respectful and never mewling, there was one joyful one that could not possibly have rattled, offended or smote anyone present at all--yet did not deny God anything or anyone. It was a Ba'hai gathering of anyone who wished to give thanks to Him for their new school, which my husband so nearly lost his life for while building. They gave thanks for his survival, too. There was much to be learned from that day - about how a Catholic must be/come if he or she would truly invite others in Christ's name to come partake of something well beyond this world's mere love and graces. Because, of course, Catholics are charged to uphold their Church on earth as the agent of the Kingdom. If not under pain of sin, then certainly under pain of abandoning the Lord Himself. If we truly believe the Catholic Church holds the fullness of the truth thus far, then we must live that as bravely and surely as we professed in our being sealed by the Holy Spirit Himself. This is the duty that Dominus Iesus reminds us about, as well as the CDF letter.

But not even Jesus walloped anyone over the head, as today's Gospel shows. "Come and see where He lives." He invites; so must we. And only then, with the whole Church, do we baptize and confirm, but it's also with the whole Church that we must first evangelize.

The ecumenical common denominator, as Christ well knew, and as John Paul II well knew, is the cross of suffering for love, for peace. All on earth have met that cross--all may understand that much of it. All may not believe in the Rising that came of that while they are still in the flesh, but all of us do bleed the same red and suck in the same air into same lungs when we cry, and most of us want to ease that. To come together for that, we must indeed lay down the sharp sword, but never the Good Book, Who is also Himself. People make the mistake of appearing to grant all things an equality, but we don't even uphold that in our own wombs, so it is better to just be honest, as in an honest leaving, such as yours, even while supporting whatever of it you can honestly applaud.

It's always been a sticky-wicket. It always will be, until He comes again in glory. But at the end of the day, we know what will have counted the most, just as Mother Teresa did. She knew what opened the door so that they could come and see..


I may be completely wrong about this, but sometimes I get the feeling that the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue (I have some excerpts from the PCID on my Inter-Religious Dialogue Page on my blog) and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are at odds with each other rather than working together. This leaves Catholics who are sincerely attracted to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue confused, to say the least.


What? Confusion within the same Catholicism? Oh, possibly so, yes..

That has always slowed down evangelization. By the time we see Christ, He and we will be bald from tearing our hair out.

Deacon DW

Gabrielle, I've had moments when I wondered the same thing. It's helped me to see everything as a big picture. I don't think that the PCID is at odds with CDF, not really. However, I will look at addressing this when I get part two together--I returned to work today, and had some marriage prep work tonight, so I'm running behind.

Deacon DW

CO--do you notice that I'm getting bald? Now you know why.


I haven't come across any discussion of this elsewhere, so am really looking forward to reading your Part Two post whenever you have time, dd.

(But let's be honest. We all know the real reason why your hair is thinning. It's not because of Catholic Confusion, is it? It was the Shock of the Giant Spider. I just knew there would be after-effects). :)


No no no! It's just that I have run out of garments to rend, and it's dangerous to keep smacking myself in the forehead, so I have begun tearing out my hair. I just presume everyone else does so, too, eventually.

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