Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
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of the Catholic Church
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.
- 1 Mission
- 2 Current activities
- 3 Messages and Statements
- 4 Importance of interfaith issues
- 5 Structure
- 6 Presidents of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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.
While the Council is responsible for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue, it does not cover Christian-Jewish relations. This is the responsibility of the entirely separate Pontifical Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, which reports to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and is headed by the Cardinal President of that Pontifical Council, Kurt Koch.
The PCID is the central hub for dialogue in the Catholic Church. However, dialogue is often carried out at the local level by individual churches, many of which are supported by regional or national dialogue commissions. The PCID works closely to support these commissions and encourages their formation in areas where they do not yet exisit.
The Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims
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.
The 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 PCID undertakes a range of activities that support its work of promoting mutual understanding between Catholicism and other religions. 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.
Messages and Statements
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
The council was created in 1964 as the Secretariat for Non-Christians under Pope Paul VI and rededicated as the Council for Interreligious Dialogue under Pope John Paul II in 1988.
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.
The PCID consists of a decision-making body, an advisory body and executive body.
Decision Making Body
The Members of the Council is the PCID’s decision-making body. Around 30 in number, members include Cardinals and Bishops from around the world. Every two or three years, a Plenary Assembly is convened to discuss important issues and to set guidelines for the work of the Council.
The PCID has an advisory body of around 50 adivisors, called Consultors, who provide research, advice and information to the Council. The Consultors are specialists in religious studies or in the practice of inter-religious dialogue, hailing from all corners of the world.
The PCID’s executive body comprises the President, Secretary, Under-Secretary, bureau chief for Islam, staff members for Africa and Asia, a staff member for new religious movements, as well as administartive and support staff.
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran is the President of the PCID. He was appointed to the position on 1 September, 2007.
Dr. Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot was named by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI the Secretary of the PCID on June 30, 2012, replacing Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata in the position.  On January 29, 2016, Pope Francis appointed Ayuso Guixot as the Titular Bishop of Luperciana.
The Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is Father Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage. Father Kankanamalage was a member of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Badulla in Badulla, Sri Lanka and has served as a Professor at the Faculty of Missiology at the Pontifical Urban University.
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|
- John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue
- Michael L. Fitzgerald
- Pontifical Council
- Studia Linguarum
- Profile | PCID
- "Inter-religious affairs: Pope appoints Rev. Fr. Omonokhua consultor". Daily Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "Pope names Islamic expert to Vatican interreligious dialogue council". CNS News. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "Pope Francis ordains new bishops in traditional service at the Vatican". Daily Mail. Retrieved 8 July 2016.