U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President on Dialogue Within the Church

November 1, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—CardinalDaniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the nature of dialoguewithin the Church today.

Fullstatement follows:

"Thedeparture today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to theCommittee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis givesus an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church. Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity allhave debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological andpastoral issues. In more recent times, these debates have made their wayinto the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good. However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political– conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II. These distinctions are not always very helpful.

Christiancharity needs to be exercised by all involved. In saying this, we allmust acknowledge that legitimate differences exist, and that it is the work ofthe Church, the entire body of Christ, to work towards an ever-growingunderstanding of God's truth.

AsBishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions aroundtheological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St. Ignatiusof Loyola's "presupposition" to his Spiritual Exercises: "…that itshould be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put agood interpretation on a neighbor's statement than to condemn it." Thispresupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our HolyFather.

TheUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishopsworking towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith,therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyaltyto the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who "is the perpetual and visible source andfoundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of thefaithful" (LG, no. 23)."