Saturday, February 2, 2008

Excellent "Rules" for Discussion

The Pontificator suggests some "rules" for conversation. I think that they're great. Summary:
  • Presumption that both parties are speaking in good faith (trust vs. hostility)
  • Know what you believe, and don't demand that any participant compromise his views
  • Try to understand the other person's views accurately
  • Charitable interpretation of other's views: understanding them in the best light, rather than the worst
  • "The search for Christian unity is ultimately a gift of the Spirit."
Bravo! He identifies these as guidelines for ecumenical conversation, but (excepting the last one) they're really essential for discussion about almost any subject. They seem to me to be a concrete expression of the law of charity.

7 comments:

Leo said...

Indeed, save the last one, which compromises the unity of the Church in my opinion, it's a pretty good modus operandi for productive discussion.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Hello Leo,

Ah, but by the principle of charitable interpretation preceding it, Christian unity can only come by the Holy Spirit granting that separated brethren return to the Catholic Church :-)

I don't think that the Pontificator means anything other than this...or he would not have left Anglicanism to become a Catholic himself.

As for me...I'm not sure how it can be that an acknowledgment that we depend upon God's grace for unity can be interpreted as compromising our unity. I'm unaware of anything that Fr. Kimel has ever said that would suggest he thinks that Christian unity exists today. He has admirably and charitably defended the Catholic Faith in conversation with Orthodox and Protestants.

Peace,

RdP

Leo said...

Hello again Reggie,

Ah, but by the principle of charitable interpretation preceding it, Christian unity can only come by the Holy Spirit granting that separated brethren return to the Catholic Church

I agree in part, you see I believe that Christian unity already exists, because I believe that there is a unity amongst Catholics, we have a unity in faith and government, we are one in Christ, and this union is not broken broken by the separation of others from it, because in separating themselves, they separate themselves from Christianity, so that they are no longer Christian, and thus Christian unity remains fully intact. And so I believe that those who are outside, in order to benefit from Christian unity, must return to that unity.

As for me...I'm not sure how it can be that an acknowledgment that we depend upon God's grace for unity can be interpreted as compromising our unity. I'm unaware of anything that Fr. Kimel has ever said that would suggest he thinks that Christian unity exists today. He has admirably and charitably defended the Catholic Faith in conversation with Orthodox and Protestants.

It seems to me that we are consistently ending up on different pages in our discussions, unfortunately. The reason why I took this:

* "The search for Christian unity is ultimately a gift of the Spirit."

as a compromise of that unity is because it asserts that that unity does not already exist, and that we merely aspire after it, do you follow? I don't want to disagree with you, so, to help you understand my perspective, I'll refer you to the words of the Holy Father in Satis Cognitum, by H. H. Pope Leo XIII. This very brief document should let you know where I'm coming from, and so I suggest this short piece to you for your consideration concerning this topic and future discussions, hopefully.

Sincerely,

Leo

Reginald de Piperno said...

Hello Leo,

Thank you for the reading suggestion. I can't promise to get to it anytime soon (my reading list already consumes about 9 feet worth of bookshelves...not counting the Church Fathers, at which I hope someday to make a serious reading effort), but I like what I have read from Leo XIII in the past and so it's no burden to add this.

I think I understand your perspective with respect to the subject of Christian unity now. Thank you. It appears that we disagree, which is unfortunate. For my part, I assure you that I am doing my best to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church. I believe that you are making the same effort (and I do not say that just because of the Rules in this post).

Peace,

RdP

Leo said...

Hi again Reggie,

Thank you for the reading suggestion.

You're welcome.

I can't promise to get to it anytime soon (my reading list already consumes about 9 feet worth of bookshelves...not counting the Church Fathers, at which I hope someday to make a serious reading effort), but I like what I have read from Leo XIII in the past and so it's no burden to add this.

I know how it is, I've still got plenty of reading to do myself.

I think I understand your perspective with respect to the subject of Christian unity now. Thank you. It appears that we disagree, which is unfortunate. For my part, I assure you that I am doing my best to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church. I believe that you are making the same effort (and I do not say that just because of the Rules in this post).

Well, I don't want you to agree with me for agreement's sake, the pursuit of truth is the ultimate goal here, and that's what we strive after, and that's what I promote.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Hi Leo,

Well, I don't want you to agree with me for agreement's sake...

You don't have to worry about that :-)

Peace,

RdP

Reginald de Piperno said...

That sounded a bit flippant.

By way of clarifying what I meant there:

I mean that I don't just believe anything someone says without good reasons to do so. If I happen to change my mind with respect to our present disagreement, so that I find myself in agreement with you, I assure you it will be because I am convinced that I was wrong and that your position turned out to be correct after all.

Peace,

RdP