August 19, 2015

Nostra Aetate SymposiumMay 19 -  21, 2015

From May 19-21, 2015, a landmark symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the celebrated declaration of the Second Vatican Council on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, took place at the Catholic University of America. Co-hosted by the School of Theology and Religious Studies (STRS) at CUA and by the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (SEIA) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the symposium particularly concentrated on Catholic-Jewish and Catholic-Muslim relations, and brought together major figures from all three faiths for a program that included keynote addresses by three cardinals, lectures, responses, and lots of opportunity for dialogue and discussion among the almost two hundred participants. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Cardinal Kurt Koch, both heads of Vatican departments dedicated to fostering dialogue, spoke on the Catholic Church's dialogue with Islam and with the Jews, respectively, and were followed by distinguished and thoughtful respondents from those faiths, Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Rabbi Irving Greenberg. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York spoke on dialogue between Catholics and Jews in the USA in a warm interaction with Rabbi Noam Marans. Amongst the other presentations, one by Fr Thomas Stransky, CSP, who was closely involved in the very drafting of Nostra Aetate, and who kindly provided participants with his own translation of the Latin text, was particularly memorable. In their joint welcome, Msgr Paul McPartlan, the acting dean of STRS, and Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, the chairman of SEIA, said that the purpose of the gathering was 'to commemorate a truly momentous text, to reflect on and discuss the progress the Church has made in building and sustaining interreligious relationships over the past 50 years, and to imagine the best direction for interreligious dialogue in the coming years'. In his closing remarks, with thanks for the spirit of friendship at the conference and for all the sharing that had taken place, Msgr McPartlan highlighted one of the prime motivations of the conference when he spoke of the importance of collaboration and understanding between the world's religions for the overall peace of humanity. Dr Pim Valkenberg of STRS and Dr Anthony Cirelli of SEIA are now editing the papers given at the symposium for publication by CUA Press in 2016.

To view the schedule and video please click here

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