Fifty Years of Nostra Aetate: Opportunities to Transcend Differences
Nostra Aetate gives basic and clear orientation to Catholics to engage in interreligious dialogue. The main thrust of the document is to invite Christians to build and promote peace in the world. While speaking of a relationship of openness and dialogue with other religions, Nostra Aetate does not ignore the duty of Christians to proclaim Jesus Christ who is the “way, the truth and life.” This essay thus responds both to Christians in the post-conciliar period who neglect proclamation as an aspect of Christian life and to those who either show indifference to or directly resist the call to dialogue in Nostra Aetate. The author speaks at length about how believers are to face the challenge of conversion to another religion and how Christians can best proceed in dialogue with Hindus, including those who have been reinterpreting the very essence of Hinduism. Dialogue with others should be built on truth, and that the time has come to move from attitudes of justification of our positions and fixed ways of looking at things to enter into frank and open dialogue by listening to the tradition of the other as the other understands it and to discover how the Spirit is at work everywhere.