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Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:
Interfaith dialogue does not involve being untrue to one’s own convictions of faith. On the contrary, it invites the partners to join together in a common seeking of the truth. In that process, they will share their own understanding in an honest and respectful way. For Catholics, the “uniqueness” and “universality” of Christ are understood to mean that by and in Jesus, God effected a self-manifestation in a manner that is decisive for all and can neither be surpassed or repeated.
The place Jesus Christ occupies in Christianity is central. No other religion attributes such a unique place to its founder. For Islam, Muhammad is the depository of the divine message, the prophet through whom God speaks. For Buddhism, Gautama is the great teacher, the Enlightened One showing the way. For Christianity, however, Jesus claims equality with God. He never refuses the title Messiah. He corrects holy writ. He insists that prophecy is fulfilled in him and that the Reign of God appears through his acts. It is the mystery of Jesus Christ himself, and not just his message, that is at the very heart of faith. It is the religion of a person, the Christ.