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The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
On Pentecost Sunday (the birthday of the Church) in 1964, in other words, in the midst of the Vatican II reforms the then Pope, Paul VI, instituted a new department within the Roman Curia for relations with people of other faiths. At first it was known as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, but in 1988 the name was changed to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Vatican City, Vatican
By Papal initiative as the department of the Roman Curia for relatons with the people of other religions
PCID is the central office of the Catholic Church for the promotion of interreligious dialogue in accordance with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, in particular the declaration 'Nostra Aetate'
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.
In addition to mutual understanding, PCID encourages the study of religions and promotes the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue. The Councils approach is primarily educational through the give and take of respectful discussion. The website makes clear that dialogue is two-way communication for the sake of mutual enrichment and growth. From the Catholic point of view, the purpose is neither betrayal of [the] mission of the Church nor a new method of conversion to Christianity. Such dialogue, moreover, is to be carried out chiefly at the level of the local parish in cooperation with regional or national dialogue commissions. In its function as an international office in the Vatican, PCID works in close collaboration with the aforementioned national and regional entities.
Decision-making body. this is composed of the Members of the Council, about 30 in number, Cardinals and Bishops, from different parts of the world. Every two or three years a Plenary Assembly is held in order to discuss important issues and to set guidelines for the work of the Council. Advisory body. the PCID has about 50 advisors, called Consultors, specialists in religious studies or in the practice of interreligious dialogue, residing in all continents. They assist the PCID through their research, information and suggestions. Periodically meetings of Consultors are held, often on a continental level. Executive body. the permanent staff in Rome, made up of President, Secretary, Under-Secretary, bureau chief for Islam, staff members for Africa and Asia, a staff member for New Religious ovements, an administrative assistant and support staff.
Welcoming Visitors. The PCID receives many visits from religious leaders. They are invited to dialogue with staff members. Where appropriate Audiences are arranged with H.H. the Pope. There are also meetings with bishops coming to Rome for their five-yearly "ad limina" visits, and with other groups of visitors. Visits. The President and the Secretary visit local Churches to become more familiar with the local situation and to encourage dialogue. On these occasions they visit leaders of other religions and different institutions in order to promote better understanding and collaboration. Meetings. The Council organizes dialogue meetings, or more often participates in such meetings organized by oher bodies, at regional, national or international levels. These meetings may be bilateral or multilateral. Publications. A number of books and pamphlets have been published on different aspects of interreligious dialogue. The Council usually publishes the Acts of the dialogue meetings it organizes. A bulletin, called "Pro Dialogo", is published regularly three times a year, containing significant Church texts on dialogue, articles, and news of dialogue activities throughout the world. An Interreligious Dialogue Directory has also been published. Commission for religious relations with Muslims The PCID has a special commission for relations with Muslims. This is composed of a President, Vice-President and Secretary, and has a small group of eight Consultors. It engages in studies on different aspects of Christian-Muslim relations. Foundation "Nostra Aetate" The PCID has set up a Foundation whose purpose is to promote dialogue, mainly by according grants to people of other religious who wish to study Christianity.
faith, inter-religion, dialogue
00193 Rome, Via dellErba 1, Italy. Tel. +39-06-69884321 Fax. +39-06-69885745.