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Catholic Dictionary




The principle or practice of drawing on different religions in order to form a coherent unity, while omitting the elements in each religion that do not fit into that unity. Eclecticism is commonplace in all philosophers and many theologians, It is also part of the history of all religions, with the notable exception of Christianity. Its Founder was no mere eclectic. He did not depend on the wisdom of other religious leaders, even when he used their insight, as in building on the prophets of ancient Israel. One of the developments of the Second Vatican Council was the recognition of so many elements of truth in the non-Christian religions that the Church may legitimately cultivate in her work of evangelization without becoming eclectic and sacrificing what is essential in the proclamation of the Gospel. (Etym. Greek eklektikos, selecting.)