The successes of an international Christian-Buddhist seminar in 1994 were significantly undermined by the subsequent publication of a book by the Pope expressing views of Buddhism vehemently contested as disparaging by many Buddhist monks and teachers. This triggered perceptions of Christians as intolerant, arrogant and exclusivist.
2. There is a real danger of overindulging in plurality and diversity and so blinding ourselves to the conflict, injustice, or oppression that all too often lurks below the surface of such diversity. Within the plurality of cultures and religions, there is not only the exuberance of truth but also the din of conflict and ideological abuse.
3. A legitimate plurality of positions has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based upon the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today's most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth. Even certain conceptions of life coming from the East betray this lack of confidence, denying truth its exclusive character and assuming that truth reveals itself equally in different doctrines, even if they contradict one another. On this understanding, everything is reduced to opinion; and there is a sense of being adrift. (Papal Encyclical, Fides et Ratio, 14 September 1998).
4. Christians know that their unity will be truly rediscovered only if it is based on the unity of their faith. They must resolve considerable discrepancies of doctrine concerning the mystery and ministry of the Church, and sometimes also concerning the role of Mary in the work of salvation.(75) The dialogues begun by the Catholic Church with the Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West(76) are steadily converging upon these two inseparable aspects of the same mystery of salvation. (Papal Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, 25 March 1987).
2. Pluralism is a responsible and fruitful option because it allows for (indeed demands) that we develop better ways as selves, as communities of inquirers, as societies, as cultures, as an inchoately global culture to allow for more possibilities to enrich our personal and communal lives.
3. In Christianity of old, religion was regarded as the chief principle of unity among peoples. Things are otherwise now. The cohesion of peoples which stems from the phenomenon of democratization promotes harmony among various spiritual families. "Pluralism," as it is called, is no longer viewed as an evil to be eliminated, but rather as a fact which must be taken into account; anyone can make his own decisions known without becoming or being regarded as alien to society. (Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, General Cathechetical Directory, 1971).