Inside the Vatican: The pope and the grand imam walk a ‘thorny path’ in Catholic-Muslim relations
Muslim leader that Pope Francis has with the Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb. Back in 2019, the two signed the groundbreaking document on Human Fraternity together in Abu Dhabi, but a new book by the Muslim judge, Mohamed Abdel Salam, who was intimately involved in the process of putting that document together, explains that the road to signing that document was not always easy.
Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam presented his new book about the process, The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path, to Pope Francis last week. On this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell walks listeners through the story of how the pope and the grand imam rebuilt the once-icy relationship between the Vatican and the top Sunni institute, Al-Azhar University.
Benedict XVI, Islam and
by Fr. Rocco Viviano, SX
Fr. Rocco is presently Interreligious Dialogue coordinator for the Xaverian Missionaries, and serves Catholic Archdiocese of Osaka as director of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and as director for Ecumenical Affairs. He was very recently appointed as a member of the Sub-Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan.
In continuity with Vatican II and the development of the modern papacy vis-à-vis the religions, Ratzinger-Benedict-XVI has given a distinctive contribution to the Catholic engagement with Islam. He sees the dialogue between Christians and Muslims as theologically founded in ‘God’s irruptive call … heard in the midst of man’s ordinary daily existence,’ which constitutes the shared source of their respective faiths. This shared religious experience imposes on Christians and Muslims a common vocation, that is, to serve humanity by witnessing to that experience, and so help society open itself to the transcendent and give God his rightful place in the life of humanity. Together Christians and Muslims can proclaim that God exists and can be encountered, that he his Creator and calls all people to live according to his ‘design for the world’. Our common task is to offer this truth to all. Benedict XVI has identified the theological foundations, and has suggested the content, aims and a spirituality of the Christian Muslim relationship. Most importantly, in doing so he has challenged Islam to articulate its own theology of interreligious dialogue and has ultimately identified the possible foundations of an Islamic theology of Christian-Muslim relations on which Muslims themselves can build.
The Meditating Body -The Affinities within Taoist and Christian Methods of Meditation
Fr. Paulin Batiriwa is a Xaverian Missionary who taught interreligious dialogue in the University of Taiwan. He is presently undersecretary at the Pontifical Commission for Interreligious Dialogue in Rome.
Every religion deals with appropriate body involved methods to facilitate and stimulate spiritual experience. The present paper compares the role and advantages Taoism and Christianity assigned to the body during meditation. Whereas Taoist methods of cultivation aim at good health and longevity, union with the Dao and immortality, Western Christianity, due to differences in the understanding of the meditating body, is reluctant to affirming the efficiency of any method. It insists that spiritual experience is a grace. Download the article to learn more.
Reconsidering the Prophet Muhammad: Christian Possibilities
Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity – A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the global community with unavoidable immediacy and with little preparedness on our part. It has dramatically altered everyone’s daily life, and powerfully exposed the vulnerability that all humans share. Alongside the millions who have been infected physically, many more have been affected psychologically, economically, politically and religiously; all have been deprived of public worship. People have struggled to cope with death and grief, especially with the inability to be with their loved ones at their deathbeds, and perform their last rites and funerals in a dignified manner. The lock down has brought the world economy to its knees, and global hunger could double due to this catastrophe. It has also contributed to an increase in domestic violence. The requirements of physical and social distancing have meant isolation for many people. Despair, anxiety and insecurity have come to dominate human lives. The coronavirus has affected all – rich and poor, the elderly and children, persons in cities and villages, farmers and industrialists, workers and students.
THE VIRGIN MARY: BRIDGING MUSLIMS AND CATHOLICS
Carl Chudy, SX
Xaverian Missionaries USA
The Journal of Social Encounters has published Fr. Carl’s comparative study on the description of Mary in the Gospels and the Qur’an that “opens us up to the profound mystery of God that transcends the boundaries of both of our faiths…” Access the Journal here.
INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE & THE XAVERIAN CHARISM
The Xaverian Interfaith Conference took place at the Conforti Centre in Scotland from the 4th – 8th of March of 2019. The confreres of the UK welcomed Xaverian Missionaries from Spain and USA, as well as lay and religious people working within our Regions, members of the Scottish Bishops’ Interfaith Commission, Interfaith Scotland, Pax Christi, other Missionary Orders, visitors and speakers of other faiths and beliefs. Access the summary here.
Being Catholic with Other Faiths
Although Vatican II opened a new door for the Catholic Church to our relationship with other faiths, it did not yet go as far as to say that interreligious dialogue is part of the evangelizing mission of the church. This came through the Pontificate of John Paul II through three subsequent documents: Dialogue and Mission (1984), the mission encyclical Mission of the Redeemer (1990), and Dialogue and Proclamation (1991). These teachings reflect the growing awareness of the centrality of interfaith dialogue in the very mission of the church. For Pope John Paul II, dialogue is fundamental for the Church, based on the very life of the Triune God, as well as on respect and love for every human person: “As far as the local churches are concerned, they must commit themselves in this direction, helping all the faithful to respect and to esteem the values, traditions, and convictions of other believers.”
This dialogue is not a mere discussion about each other’s beliefs. For the church there are several ways this dialogue can play out.
- The first is the dialogue of life where believers of different religions bear witness before each other in daily life to their own human and spiritual values, and help each other to live according to those values in order to build a more just and fraternal society.
- The second is the dialogue of works and action where collaboration with other faiths is opportune in the social, economic and political to build a more humane society.
- The third is the dialogue of theological exchange and often involves specialists and leaders in different faith traditions in search for ultimate truth.
- Finally the dialogue of religious experience is an opportunity to share prayer and religious experiences in our common search for the Absolute.
Teaching of the Catholic Church on Interfaith Dialogue
- Vatican II: Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions
- Vatican II: Mission ad Gentes
- Redemptoris Missio
- Dialogue and Proclamation
US Catholic Bishops on Global Mission and Interfaith Dialogue
- To the Ends of the Earth: A Pastoral Statement on World Mission
- Teaching the Spirit of Mission ad Gentes: Continuing Pentecost Today
- Best Practices to Teach the Spirit of Mission
- Interreligious Dialogue in the USA
- E Newsletter Signup
Interfaith Organizations to Connect With
- Interfaith Youth Core
- Hartford Seminary
- North American Interfaith Network
- Peace Islands Institute
- Faith House
- 9/11 Interfaith Unity Walk
- World Parliament of Religions
- The Common Word
- United Religions Initiative
- Religions for Peace
- The Religious Pluralism Project of Harvard University
- Interfaith Radio
- Scarboro Missions of Canada
Resources on Islam
- Resources of the MacDonald Center on the study of Islam and Christian Muslim Relations
- The Muslim World Journal
- Online Articles
- Information about Islam
- Links to other resources
- The Interfaith Observer
- Inter-religious Studies
- Current Dialogue Magazine – World Council of Churches
- Evangelical Interfaith
Essays on Dialogue by Xaverian Missionaries
- NEW: Redemptive Suffering Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Fr. Carl Chudy
- A Catholic Approach to Islamophobia by Fr. Carl Chudy
- Mary: A Bridge Between Islam and Catholicism by Fr. Carl Chudy
- Jesus as a Gulf and a Bridge in Christian Muslim Understanding by Fr. Carl Chudy
- See, Judge, Act: A Model for Catholic Communities to Engage in Refugee Ministry by Fr. Carl Chudy
- Faith and Doubt in a Secular Age by Fr. Carl Chudy
- My Interfaith Dialogue Journey: God Between the Lines by Fr. Carl Chudy
- The First Proclamation and the New Evangelization in the United States by Fr. Carl Chudy
- Common Ground: Conversations Among Humanists and Religious Believers by Fr. Carl Chudy