- Jun 3, 2020
The Vatican and Al-Azhar University, one of Islam’s most renowned schools of Sunni thought, will be joining forces to discuss how to fight religious extremism that uses God’s name to justify violence. The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue will travel to Cairo to participate in the special seminar.
“For me, I was surprised,” said Nur Essa, a Muslim Syrian woman whose family was brought to Rome from Lesbos by Pope Francis. “(He is) very open to all of the cultures, all of the religions, and he sets an example for all the religious people in the world, because he uses religion to serve the human being.”
The transfer of St. Isaac’s has been seen as part of the growing power of the Orthodox Church and a trend of social conservatism in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has appealed to traditional values as opposed to Western liberalism to help tighten his grip on society.
The message of the meeting of the European Catholic-Orthodox Forum said its aim was “to demonstrate the convergence of Catholics and Orthodox on major issues of social ethics” and the will of both churches to stand together in the face of “unprecedented challenges and threats against Christianity.”
The Catholic Archdiocese of Palermo will transfer a chapel to the Jewish community there. Archbishop of Palermo, Corrado Lorefice says, “This transfer is the product of a genuine friendship and ongoing dialogue between the church and Palermo’s Jewish community.”
“The bishops’ priority at the moment is to listen to (Muslims’) concerns, their fears, their needs … and so discern how we as Catholics can help them achieve their goals of full participation in their communities,” said Anthony Cirelli, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.