Category Archives: Interfaith Dialogue

Ecumenical and Interfaith leaders respond to the election of Pope Francis

Surveying what the ecumenical crowd has to say about this papal election is mixed at best. Time will tell about our interfaith friends, namely the Jewish and Muslim communities. It is said that Pope Francis has had very strong friendships with the Jewish community of Argentina.


On Wednesday night when Pope Francis was introduced to the world on the loggia he said, “And now let us begin this journey, the bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.”

Pope Francis Portrait Painting

Pope Francis Portrait Painting (Photo credit: faithmouse)

His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (of Constantinople) will attend the enthronement of the newly-elected Pope of Rome on March 19. This is the first time since 1054 that Orthodox bishops will be in attendance. Bartholomew will be accompanied by the Metropolitan of Pergamum, John (Zizoulas), the Metropolitan of Buenos Aires, Tarasios (a native of San Antonio, Texas) and the Metropolitan of Italy, Gennadios.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, spoke on Thursday that he thought a meeting between the Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow was “possible but the place and timing will depend on how quickly we will overcome the consequences of the conflicts from the turn of 1980s and 1990s.” Hilarion notes, “on several occasions, Pope Francis has shown spiritual sympathy towards the Orthodox Church and a desire for closer contacts.” The Orthodox still refuse to accept the fact that some Christians in the Byzantine East want, in their own freedom, be in communion with the bishop of Rome. Tensions run high when it comes to thinking about the Ukrainian Byzantine Church using the title of Patriarch for their head and the existence of Latin Catholic dioceses in Russia.

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Significant remarks from the Evangelization Synod: on interreligious dialogue

Jean Louis TauranIn the time following the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization I think we need to review what was said. So often we move on so fast when an event is finished. A judgment, that is, an assessment, is required to understand with clarity and charity.

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, challenged a trend in the work of interreligious dialogue at the recent Synod of Bishops:

Christians often ignorant of the content of their own faith and incapable because of this of living of and for it, are not capable of interreligious dialogue that always begins with the assertion of one’s own convictions: there is no room for syncretism or relativism! Faced with adepts from other religions with a strong religious identity, it is necessary to present motivated and doctrinally equipped Christians. This makes the new evangelization a priority to form coherent Christians, capable of demonstrating their faith, with simple words and without fear.

Rosh Hashanah 5773/2012-13

Pope with Shofar.jpgA blessed Rosh Hashanah (head of the year) to our Jewish brothers and sisters!!! The Jewish calendar marks 5773.

The feast of Rosh Hashanah is remembrance that we didn’t make ourselves. It is a fitting opportunity to make the biblical connections of God’s creation of the world. Some will call this feast a time to get your spiritual house in order. Thus, a time of prayer and reflection.
Rosh Hashanah is observed variously according to the Jewish which is followed.

The feast begins on Sunday, September 16 and ends Tuesday, September 18 (in the evening).

Pope encourages sustained inter-religious dialogue

Every 5 years a bishop is to make a visit to the Eternal City first to pray at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul and secondly to make a report to the Pope (and his curia). The church-term for such a meeting is called the “ad limina” — to the threshold of the apostles, the Church, the heartbeat of our faith. It is not a meeting of checking-in with the CEO, CFO and the COO of the company. For a bishop is not a branch manager. This is a gesture of communion between two people who are in love with Christ and His sacrament, the Church; it is a meeting of one pastor meeting the Supreme Pastor, Christ, through the ministry of the See of Peter. It is a time to verify the good being done and to get feedback about what more needs to be done for the good of the faithful. With Benedict’s age I think the 5-year meeting is now about every 7 years. 

In recent weeks, Benedict has been meeting with Indonesian bishops. Part of his concluding address to the latest group has an encouragement to advocate inter-religious dialogue. As you can tell, Pope Benedict XVI is a pope of dialogue. The relevant paragraph follows:

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Yousef Nadarkhani sentenced to death for being Christian in Iran, the Church silent

Yousef Nadarkhani.jpgYousef Nadarkhani, 33, is a Christian; he’s never practiced Islam, the faith of his family. He converted Christianity at the age of 19. A court ruled that he’s guilty of apostasy but he’s also being accused of security charges, running a brothel, being a rapist and being a Zionist. And now he faces death. 

BUT it seems that the charge of apostasy is being minimized or completely discounted now; information conflict. Nadarkhani was arrested October 13, 2009.

“I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant,” Yousef Nadarkhani said.
Benjamin Weinthal’s article in The Jerusalem Post gives some more detail.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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