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Cardinal Dulles says church needs dialogue, not dissent

The church needs respectful internal dialogue, but not the kind that tolerates dissent from church teachings or substitutes "civility for truth", Cardinal Avery Dulles said in a lecture last Friday at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

"For Catholics the only acceptable common ground is the teaching of Christ and the church," he said. "To seek a common ground between approved and disapproved doctrines would be to give all the trump cards to the dissenter. ... Authentic dialogue, on the contrary, keeps the fullness of truth as its norm and goal."

The US Jesuit theologian, who was made a cardinal earlier this year, delivered the third annual lecture of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative. His topic was "Dialogue, Truth and Communion".