Co-chair of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue calls for positive engagement with different faith

Thu, Sep 22nd 2016 01:00 pm
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON - Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Catholic co-chairman of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, issued the following statement on the report Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam, recently published by Georgetown University's Center for Muslim - Christian Understanding.

Full statement follows:

The report "Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam," recently published by the Bridge Initiative, a research project on Islamophobia based in Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim - Christian Understanding, raises serious questions about how Catholics view their Muslim brothers and sisters.

The findings demonstrate the urgent need to cultivate positive dialogue with members of other faith traditions, something that was strongly advocated by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in their document Nostra Aetate.

Experience has shown that when people of different faith traditions build personal relationships and engage in dialogue to learn about one another; they develop the capacity to work together; and they come to appreciate the positive elements in one another's traditions.

Conversely, when there is no attempt to learn more about one another, we see an increase in the tendency to be negative about those who are different from ourselves.

This diminishes all of us, as we face increasing incidents of religious intolerance across the globe.

No one should dismiss the real threats that some Muslims who embrace a radical ideology, such as the members of the Islamic State, present to people of all faiths.

That is why it is now even more important to promote ongoing encounter, dialogue and education between our two great faith traditions.

It is incumbent upon Catholics to recognize and raise up the positive voices from the Muslim world who clearly reject violence by practicing and teaching an Islam of peace, compassion and mercy.  As Nostra Aetate teaches, with them we should "make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom."

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