The Catholic University of America

March 18, 2015

Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim Leaders to Gather at CUA, Commemorate 50 Years of Engagement and Dialogue


Cardinals Tauran, Koch from Rome to speak on Muslim, Jewish dialogues

Participant in Second Vatican Council to recall drafting of
Nostra Aetate

Presenters and respondents to include preeminent Muslim scholars, rabbis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim scholars and leaders, including the cardinals who head two pontifical councils in Rome and a participant in the Second Vatican Council, will gather at The Catholic University of America (CUA), May 19 through 21, to commemorate the legacy of Nostra Aetate, Vatican II’s declaration on non-Christian religions. That document, issued in 1965, provided the catalyst for the Catholic Church to reach out to other religions in a spirit of friendship and dialogue.

Nostra Aetate: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Catholic Church’s Dialogue with Jews and Muslims” is cosponsored by CUA and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“Dialogue calls us to go out from ourselves and our comfort zones, as Pope Francis would say, and our respective faith commitments implore us to work together toward peace and social and economic justice,” said Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Springfield, Mass., chairman of the bishops’ ecumenical and interreligious committee. “During this anniversary celebration of Nostra Aetate and the solid foundation it has given to us, we look with eager and open hearts to the next 50 years of friendship and encounter.”

Three cardinals will offer keynote addresses over the three days of the gathering:

  • Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, will present on Catholic-Muslim dialogue. Seyyed Hossein Nasr of The George Washington University will provide a response. Cardinal Tauran, in his role as senior cardinal-deacon of the College of Cardinals, introduced Pope Francis from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica upon his election in 2013.
  • Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, will present on the international Catholic-Jewish dialogue. Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, former president of the Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, will respond.
  • Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York will present on the national Catholic-Jewish dialogue since Nostra Aetate. Rabbi Noam Marans, director of interreligious and intergroup relations at the American Jewish Committee, will respond.

“The Catholic University of America is delighted to be hosting this landmark event, celebrating one of the truly groundbreaking texts of Vatican II with such distinguished representatives of three major faiths,” said Monsignor Paul McPartlan, acting dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at CUA.

Other participants in the event include:

  • Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah of King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia, who will address promoting peace and religious freedom in the Muslim world. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, former president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, former chairman of the USCCB ecumenical and interreligious committee, will respond.
  • Rev. Thomas Stransky, C.S.P., an original staff member of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who will share his recollections of the drafting of Nostra Aetate in a conversation with Georgetown University’s John Borelli, Ph.D., formerly of the USCCB Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
  • Rev. Francis X. Clooney, S.J., director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University, who will address learning from Asian religions.
  • Ann Garrido, D.Min., associate professor of homilitics at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Mo., who will address pursuing truth in dialogue.

Registration information and a full schedule are available online:

Don Clemmer, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Katie Lee and Mary McCarthy Hines, The Catholic University of America




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