Addressing the Receptive Ecumenism Conference, Cardinal Kurt Koch spoke about how Christians of different denominations can enter into dialogue. It is something we all face, not only ecumenical dialogue but talking to one another, often afraid that our weaknesses and differences are going to keep us apart and so we conceal them. He quoted Cardinal John Henry Newman thus:

Perhaps the reason why the standard of holiness among us is so low, why our attainments are so poor, our view of the truth so dim, our belief so unreal, our general notions so artificial and external is this, that we dare not trust each other with the secret of our hearts. We have each the same secret, and yet we keep it to ourselves, and we fear that as a cause of estrangement, which really would be a bond of union. We do not probe the wounds of our nature thoroughly; we do not lay the foundation of our religious profession in the ground of our inner man; we make clean the outside of things; we are amiable and friendly to each other in word and deeds, but our love is not enlarged, our bowels of affection are straitened, and we fear to let intercourse begin at the root; and in consequence, our religion viewed as a social system, is hollow.

What we fear as a “cause of estrangement” would really “be a bond of union”. Beginning at the root, with our wounds, in the “bowels of affection”, is how begins the dialogue of love.

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