success stories

Title: Dialogue, Truth, and Communion
The Third Annual Lecture of the Catholic Ground Initiative
Authors: Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., Monika K. Hellig
National Pastoral Life Center, New York, 10012

by Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb

It’s a particular pleasure to present the 2001 Catholic Common Ground Initiative Lecture, “Dialogue, Truth, and Communion,” by Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., and the response by Dr. Monika K. Hellig. As she notes, Cardinal Dulles lives up to his reputation for paintaking, may I say indefatigable, research in his survey of the history of dialogue in society and in the church.

If that alone were his contribution, it would have been significant. However, Cardinal Dulles has also brought to the topic his love of the church, his theological expertise, and his pastoral concern.

The exchange between these two fine scholars , which took place June 22, 2001, at Georgetown University, was respectful, courteous, and pointed. Dr. Hellwig lauded Cardinal Dulles’ scholarship, but suggested a widening of his first category of dialogue to include “collegial,” and proposed a different reading of the situation in the contemporary church. In an extemporaneous response, Cardinal Dulles stated clearly, and passionately, his concern that the “liberal model of dialogue” endangers the commitment to the knowability of truth. It was a memorable moment, one revelatory of his great love of Truth.

We at the Initiative are grateful to these eminent theologians who witnessed by their scholarship, their personal presence, their mutual respect, and non-defensive exchange of ideas, a way forward for the contemporary church. By their willingness to enter into this dialogue, they have modeled the kind of faith-filled conversation the Initiative wishes to promote.


Avery Dulles
Three Models of Dialogue
Official Catholic Teaching

Monika K. Hellig
Three Models of Dialogue
An Addition: A Collegial Model
A Friendly Amendment
Concluding Differences