Opinion: Religious Pluralism Central Issue for Papal Successor

April 18, 2005

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald


On April 18, 2005 The Sydney Morning Herald ran an opinion piece by Neil Ormerod, professor of theology at the Australian Catholic University, about the importance of the new pope addressing religious pluralism. Ormerod writes, "The death of Pope John Paul II and the election of a new pope raise questions about the agenda that faces the Catholic Church in the coming century, indeed the coming millennium...how will Christian faith relate to people of other religious beliefs?...Globalisation means major religions are experiencing unprecedented levels of contact, confrontation and at times conflict. The Catholic Church needs to develop an appropriate theological response. This will not be a reductionist approach that 'all religions are basically the same.' Nor will it be one that eliminates the centrality of Jesus Christ, for this would be to dissolve its own identity. It must promote religious tolerance...but not a tolerance of indifference or a minimising of difference; rather a tolerance which recognises and respects difference in others while maintaining our own distinctiveness. How to achieve these goals will be a major agenda item for the next pope and in all likelihood for the one after that."