Master's Program Has Eye on Ecumenism and Dialogue
Interview With Professor Joan Andreu Rocha
ROME, MAY 27, 2005 (Zenit) - Before dialoguing with other religions and Christian denominations, it is imperative to know one's own faith as well as theirs.
This is the idea behind a new master's degree in "Church, Ecumenism and Religions," which the School of Theology of at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University will offer starting in October.
We discussed the program with its director, professor Joan Andreu Rocha Scarpetta, who planned the new master's with Legionary Father Thomas Williams, dean of the athenaeum's School of Theology.
Q: Why is this new master's being launched when there are already others on ecumenism and dialogue?
Rocha: This master's is in response to the need to know religions better in the present world context, in which the religious dimension has shown its importance, but in which relativism often arises for lack of criteria.
There are other initiatives of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, but we are interested in the level that precedes true dialogue, namely, knowledge of others. Dialogue comes later.
The master's is designed above all for those people who would like to know and need to know what other Christian confessions, other religions, and alternative religious movements -- sects, New Age, etc. -- are, and what they believe, and what the Catholic Church says about them.
In this connection, the master's is completely attuned to the desire of Pope Benedict XVI, who has assumed "as a primary commitment to work tirelessly for the full and visible reconstitution of the unity of all the followers of Christ."
Q: Is there a danger that the ecumenical effort and interreligious dialogue will damage the impetus of evangelization and the missionary spirit?
Rocha: A distinction must be made: Ecumenism is very different from interreligious dialogue, although the new master's addresses both aspects.
Ecumenism seeks the unity of Christians, divided for historical and doctrinal reasons, but having Jesus Christ as their point of reference. It is Jesus Christ himself who desires that "they all be one."
If Christians are not united, it is difficult for them to be credible in the world. Without ecumenism, mission and evangelization are weakened, because one is looking outside without having solved the problem inside. Hence the importance of knowing first the other confessions, churches, and Christian communities before moving toward a dialogue that leads to unity.
Interreligious dialogue is something altogether different. As Catholics, it is a question of understanding the reason for religious diversity, as a historical and cultural fact. Why are there different religions? What is their meaning in the light of Christ's revelation? To ask these questions, we must first know what the other religions are.
Knowledge and one's own identity are the foundation for dialogue. There is no sense in dialoguing when one doesn't know who one is and who the others are.
The mission is based on this knowledge, and dialogue is not its substitute. What is more, as the magisterium has clearly pointed out, true dialogue is an aspect of mission, because it means above all the testimony of one's faith.
It does not mean the loss of identity but the reaffirmation of religious identities vis-ŕ-vis others, recognizing the other's otherness, but at the same time the particularity of one's own faith.
We wish to offer the prior and indispensable elements to establish a fruitful ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, namely, basic knowledge of the other Christian confessions, of the other religions and alternative religious movements, pointing out the similarities and differences with respect to the Catholic faith.
Q: How will this program of knowledge of other confessions and religions be implemented?
Rocha: The objectives of the master's are to offer the necessary elements to affirm and give consistency to the faith itself in the face of the other confessions and religions, and to know the history, doctrine, characteristics and present importance of the other Christian confessions, religions, and alternative religious movements.
To achieve this, the master's is divided into two academic years, with courses being held on Wednesday afternoons. The program is divided in four parts that comprise the comparative study of religions, Christian confessions and ecumenism, the great religions of the world and interreligious dialogue, and alternative religious movements.
The methodology will be the presentation of the Christian confessions and the great religions of the world, showing the historical relationships with the latter and studying the magisterial and theological documents that express the norms and orientations of these relationships.
In addition to the classroom lessons, the master's program also includes the reading of texts available on the Internet, facilitating the classroom work with the reading of documents for further reflection.
The first year includes the presentation of the great themes of religions presented in a comparative manner -- first semester -- and of the relationships of the Catholic faith with other Christian confessions, as well as the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism -- second semester. The master's begins in October 2005.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Ecumenism, Dialogue, Rocha, Christian, Faith
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- The one strange thing millennials are giving up for Lent
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 1st, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Friday, March 31, 2017
- IHOP employee pictured with disabled customer melts hearts around the ...
- 'Living Lent': Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 31
- Pope Francis shares important message with families HD Video
- St. Benjamin: Saint of the Day for Friday, March 31, 2017
- Implant allows paralyzed man to move arm using his thoughts HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, March 31st, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, March 30th, 2017 HD
- Cause of California's drought is revealed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.