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.

Its current President is Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, who assumed his position on 1 September 2007.


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:

  1. to promote mutual understanding, respect and collaboration between Catholics and the followers of others religious traditions;
  2. to encourage the study of religions;
  3. 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 PCID is restricted to matters of religion and interreligious dialogue. It does not address social or economic issues, which are covered by other departments in the Roman Curia.[1]

The Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims[edit]

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 Secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims is Monsignor Khaled Akashed.

The Consultors of the Commission are:

Current activities[edit]

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[edit]

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.[3]

Importance of interfaith issues[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Advisory Body[edit]

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.

Executive Body[edit]

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. [4] On January 29, 2016, Pope Francis appointed Ayuso Guixot as the Titular Bishop of Luperciana.[5]

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.[6]

Presidents of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue[edit]

# 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

See also[edit]


External links[edit]