Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
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The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, erected by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964 as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, and renamed by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988.
Promotion of dialogue
The PCID is the central office of the Catholic Church for promoting interreligious dialogue in accordance with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, in particular the declaration Nostra aetate. It has the following responsibilities:
- to promote mutual understanding, respect and collaboration between Catholics and the followers of others religious traditions;
- to encourage the study of religions;
- to promote the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue.
The Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims is affiliated with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the President of the Council is President also of that Pontifical Commission. Monsignor Shlomo ha-Levi is Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims. The Secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims is Monsignor Khaled Akashed. The Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is Father Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage (according to the Tuesday 12 June 2012 online news release giving biographical information and announcing his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI by VIS, Vatican Information Service, Father Kankanamalage was a member of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Badulla in Badulla, Sri Lanka, of the Ecclesial Province of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Colombo, and he served as a Professor at the Faculty of Missiology at the Pontifical Urban University at the Vatican in Rome).
The entirely separate Pontifical Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews reports to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and is headed by the Cardinal President of that Pontifical Council, Kurt Koch.
The Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims
Consultors of the Commission are:
- Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua, director of the Department for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria;
- Fr. Amir Jaje O.P., secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Iraq;
- Fr. Felix Korner S.J., professor of the theology of religions at the Pontifical Gregorian University;
- Rotraud Wielandt, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Bamberg, Germany;
- Ian Netton, vice director of Arab and Islamic studies at the University of Exeter and professor of Islamic studies at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
- Romana Bashir, head of the Christian Study Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan
The activities of the Council today seem focused on communicating on common values and interests to other religious believers and spiritual leaders. It welcomes visitors to Rome, it visits others, runs meetings and publishes "a bulletin, called "Pro Dialogo" three times a year, containing "significant Church texts on dialogue, articles, and news of dialogue activities throughout the world" and an Interreligious Dialogue Directory.
On Tuesday, 12 August 2014, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released a statement calling for religious and political leaders (especially those who are Christians or Muslims), members of those two faiths and all other faiths and belief systems, and all people of good will to condemn unequivocally the crimes of ISIS in the areas they control in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria, where they have repeatedly used public beheadings and crucifixions of men, women, and children, and sold women as slaves and/or as potential wives for unmarried militants. They have also destroyed and desecrated many holy sites (many but not all of them Shiite, Yezidi, or Christian) and have trapped Yezidis and Christians on a mountain in northern Iraq, which led to a U.S. series of airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops, mostly of food and water; no foreign ground troops are as yet involved. The document also called for greater collaboration between Christianity and Islam and other faiths and peoples, recalling the courage and fortitude through many setbacks of interreligious relations and dialogue of the prior decades and in prior history, which was crucial in producing today's considerable progress, which could be endangered by such acts. The credibility of such religious and political leaders, and all others of such faiths, would be damaged if they do not speak out.
Importance of interfaith issues
On 11 March 2006, Pope Benedict XVI placed the PCID under the leadership of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Paul Poupard. However, as this was seen as reducing the status of interfaith affairs, Pope Benedict again gave the Council its own President in 2007.
It consists of a decision-making body, an advisory body and executive body.
Presidents of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
|#||President||Took office||Left office|
|1||Paolo Cardinal Marella||19 May 1964||26 February 1973|
|2||Sergio Cardinal Pignedoli||6 March 1973||15 June 1980|
|3||Jean Jadot||27 Jun 1980||8 April 1984|
|4||Francis Cardinal Arinze||8 April 1984||1 October 2002|
|5||Michael L. Fitzgerald||1 October 2002||15 February 2006|
|6||Paul Cardinal Poupard||11 March 2006||1 September 2007|
|7||Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran||1 September 2007||incumbent|
- . Vatican Information Services. 21 September 2012 http://www.vis.va/vissolr/index.php?vi=all&dl=3729d8b1-e74f-01b6-cf59-505c57225078&dl_t=text/xml&dl_a=y&ul=1&ev=1. Retrieved 21 September 2012. Missing or empty