A pressing question people often ask about interreligious dialogue is: "Why?"
Why is it valuable for Catholics to venture outside the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church to seek friendship and understanding with Muslims, Jews or members of other religious traditions? The answer comes directly from the Second Vatican Council, when the Church wrote a document about other religions called Nostra Aetate.
At the National Muslim-Catholic Plenary in October 2012 - the first-ever joint gathering of the organizations that participate in Catholic-Muslim dialogues with the USCCB - Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J. talked about Nostra Aetate and its implications. You can read the full text but here is an excerpt:
"The Council envisions nothing less than a shared mission in our world for
Muslims and Christians. It is a partnership in which the two
communities should work together for the common good in four key areas
of modern life: to build peace, to establish justice in our societies,
to defend moral values, and to promote true human freedom."
By listening, sharing stories, praying and enjoying meals together during the National Plenary, Muslim and Catholic leaders answered the call of Nostra Aetate. Their work continues through regular dialogues held during the year. Visit our Islam page to learn more about these dialogues.
Living our Faith Together: Sample Agenda
Living our Faith Together: Keynote by Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J.
Retrospective on Origins of Muslim-Catholic Dialogue by Archbishop Alexander Brunett
Full video for Keynote Addresses