Question: It seems like Catholics and many mainline Protestant denominations are getting farther and farther apart on moral issues like abortion, the definition of marriage, and the ordination of active homosexual clergy. How does this affect ecumenical dialogue?
It is true that just about every mainline Protestant denomination is struggling internally with the very questions you mention. As a Catholic, it is not unlike watching your very good neighbors have a knock-down, drag out, fight right in their front yard. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling. Nevertheless, you don’t quit talking to your neighbors just because they are having internal relationship issues. If anything, you pray for them even more.
That’s sort of what it is like in the relations with many of our partners in dialogue. We are not going to stop the conversations, but it certainly does give us much more to talk about than before. As a result, it looks like full communion is going to take longer than we had first imagined.