Religious, Secular & Spiritual Dialogue

Catholics and our Secular Brothers and Sisters

The concern of the Church to understand more deeply secular culture and the dialogue we must have is rooted in the spirit of Vatican II.

  • Pope Paul VI, who closed Vatican II and launched the Church into a new future,  wrote in his first encyclical in 1964, Ecclesium Suam: “God Himself took the initiative in the dialogue of salvation. “He first loved us.” We, therefore, must be the first to ask for a dialogue with others (men), without waiting to be summoned to it by others.” (72) Read too 70-85.
    • The Pope established the Secretariat for Non-Believers in 1965 as a focal point for the dialogue with people of goodwill who profess no specific religion or religious belief.
    • The first guideline of religious/secular dialogue was released in 1968 entitled, DIALOGUE WITH NON-BELIEVERS through Cardinal Francis Konig, President of the Secretariat.
  • St. Pope John Paul II changed the Secretariat to the Pontifical Council of Culture on 20 May 1982 with the aim of establishing dialogue between the Church and the cultures of our time. The new opportunities of mission lie in our cultural and religious diversity.
  • Pope Benedict XVI instituted, through this Council, the Courtyard of the Gentiles to create international conferences for interaction “with those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown.
  • Pope Francis, in his first encyclical, Joy of the Gospel, says: “As believers, we also feel close to those who do not consider themselves part of any religious tradition, …We consider them as precious allies in the commitment to defending human dignity, in building peaceful coexistence between peoples and in protecting creation.” (257)

Sacred Secular Dialogue on Facebook and Twitter

Xaverian Research on Learning to Leave the Church

Fr. Carl Chudy recently completed research on Catholic disaffiliation entitle: Postsecular Catholicism: Toward a New Understanding and Pastoral Praxis in Catholic Families with Disaffiliated Children in the Archdiocese of Boston. The Catholic Church is experiencing seismic shifts in the national religious landscape as many younger and not-so-young Catholics have been disengaging with the church and its practices and sacramental life in a significant way. The web portal of the project is here.

Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics 

Bob McCarty Talks about Why Disaffiliated Youth Are a Grace and Gift to the Church

Saint Mary’s Press recently conducted extensive research with young Catholics who have left the Church through the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministers. This session will identify the underlying dynamics that lead to disaffiliation, describe the factors that reinforce those dynamics, and examine the implications for parish life, vocational discernment, and pastoral ministry. And we will also propose pastoral strategies that enhance affiliation and engagement with the faith community.

See the Webinar Here

Including the Non-religious in Interfaith Dialogue

Common Ground Project

Encounter and Dialogue Among the Religious and Nonreligious

The Xaverian Missionaries began a project of dialogue and engagement with atheists, secular humanists and the unaffiliated through a project we called COMMON GROUND in 2012, in partnership with our brothers the United Kingdom. We encourage you to explore these links and join in on the conversation as we learn to enlarge our Catholic embrace.

  • The first reason is to explore new opportunities of the 21st century to live out the “mission ad gentes” of the Church that binds us as Catholics to all those who believe differently than us. This relationship is an important place where we share the love of Christ.
  • Second, in the western world, the gulf felt between people of faith and secular culture is a not so new periphery of the Church that demands encounter, study, and the application of the Gospel in the spirit of dialogue, love, and bridge building.
  • Secular culture applies to persons who are atheists, secular humanists, the unaffiliated (those who left religion behind), seekers, agnostics and others who do not believe in God or hold to any particular religious institution.

Common Ground: Conversations between Atheists, Religious Believers & Secular Humanists

A) 2013 Conference of Religious and Non-Religious: Coatbridge, Scotland

B) 2015 Conference of Religious and Non-Religious @ Rutgers University

D) Common Ground Blogging Network

We are reflecting and writing on these ongoing experiences through two blogs, our own, Catholic Global Mission, and a non-religious blog on called Secular Spectrum, probably the largest online interfaith conversation. More will be added over time, check back often.

Catholic Global Mission (Official blog of the Xaverian Missionaries USA)

Secular Spectrum (Non-religious blog featured in one of the largest online interfaith conversations,

E) Essays & Articles from the Xaverian Missionaries

F) Resources

In our study, we share with you books that are part of a larger community of study and dialogue. Some are academic, others more easily accessible. They are a good place to start if you want to explore this unique dialogue.

Spiritual but not Religious

Religious & Secular Dialogue

Articles and Online Sources

Studies in Secular Culture

Secular Ethics

Organizational Resources

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