Interreligious Dialogue

The work of the Keough School, the Ansari Institute and many other parts of the University will help us promote interreligious dialogue and understanding in a fractured world in which religious faith is often invoked to deepen divisions. Guided by the call of the Second Vatican Council and the inspiring voice of Pope Francis, Notre Dame is compelled by its commitment to a distinctive Catholic mission to foster such dialogue. The Keough School will encourage interreligious collaboration in addressing the world’s great challenges. 

"Notre Dame is unapologetically a Catholic institution, and one committed to facilitating dialogue, deeper understanding and greater collaboration among religious groups."

As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we recognize Notre Dame’s long tradition in fostering ecumenical dialogue between divided Christian churches through our Tantur Ecumenical Institute. To enhance this work, we recently appointed Fr. Brian Daley, S.J., the Catherine F. Husking Professor of Theology, to serve as our Senior Ecumenical Fellow and help us foster ecumenical work on campus and at Tantur. In March, members of our theology department will join with faculty at the University of Heidelberg to host the final of four conferences devoted to the Reformation and subsequent consequences. At our Commencement Exercises last May, we gave an honorary degree to Rev. Martin Junge, General Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation, on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Since his visit, we have continued conversations with Rev. Junge and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in Rome, and plans are underway for a conference at Notre Dame on the ecclesial implications of a pivotal agreement among Christian churches, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Differences about this doctrine were central to the divisions of the churches in the Reformation, and the recent agreement sets the stage for further steps toward unity. Notre Dame is proud to play a role in these discussions. 

In January of 2018 at our Rome Global Gateway, members of our theology department will host a conference titled, “The Whole is Greater Than Its Parts: Christian Unity and Interreligious Encounter Today”. It will strive to bring together dialogue among various Christian traditions with dialogue among the world’s great religions, and will draw on experiences of communities of faith from around the world.

Finally, last Sunday I welcomed leaders of various Christian denominations to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus for a Common Prayer of Reconciliation and Remembrance. Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran church in America delivered the homily, and she was joined by Rt. Rev. Douglas Sparks of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, Dr. Charles Wiley of the Presbyterian Church and Bishop Dennis Madden of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and past chairman of the Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Notre Dame is unapologetically a Catholic institution, and one committed to facilitating dialogue, deeper understanding and greater collaboration among religious groups. We are in a position to make an important contribution in this area, so badly needed in our world today.