In this series, I have drawn upon the ecumenical website Conciliar Post in order to examine how Orthodox and Catholic Christians dialogue in an online environment. Through this overview, I have argued for three basic approaches to dialogue: Cooperation against common opponents, Reinforcement of disagreements, and Coordination seeking unity. While cooperation and reinforcement must (to some extent) exist in a divided church, intentional Orthodox-Catholic coordination appears to be best way forward toward meaningful Christian dialogue and unity.
How do we promote coordinated Orthodox-Catholic dialogue online? Let me make three brief suggestions: First, Orthodox and Catholic Christians must set clear goals for online dialogue. Instead of viewing the internet and social media merely as an outlet for entertainment, Christians must adapt to advances in information technology and utilize those advances for the sake of sharing the Gospel. Second, Orthodox and Catholic Christians must commit themselves to moving beyond emotionally and rhetorically driven online exchanges. We must drive ourselves to be the change we want to see in dialogue, to commit ourselves to seek greater and substantive understandings of others.
Third, Orthodox and Catholic Christians ought to intentionally foster “coordination seeking unity” through engagement with communities—online and otherwise—that encourage meaningful Orthodox-Catholic unity. This step requires stretching our comfort zones and changing our mindsets to prioritize intentional interaction with Christians outside our own parishes and denominations. I submit Conciliar Post as one such community, a forum dedicated to the kind of charitable Orthodox-Catholic dialogue that Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I called for fifty years ago. My hope—and prayer—is that the future of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue intentionally incorporates a model of coordinated dialogue.
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