An opportunity has come, due activity of the Catholic Church, to observe how one religion does interreligious dialogue with other religions. This can only be of benefit for many to read and understand this process as we step – albeit carefully – out into interfaith dialogue with those of other religions. The Pontificial Council for Interreligious Dialogue has produced a booklet on interreligious dialogue on the subject of Mercy.
Dialogue and the Year of Mercy
The Roman Catholic Church has been celebrating a Year of Mercy, and for 12 months, Pope Francis led the church with multiple activities and multiple reflections on mercy as taught by Jesus in the gospels, and as practiced by Christians over millennia.
Now Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontificial Council for Interreligious Dialogue has taken up the opportunity to engage with other religions on the topic of Mercy and produced a booklet, “Celebrating Mercy with Believers of Other Religions”. This is an interesting booklet to peruse and examine, for it will present to you how the Catholic Church engages with those of other religions to produce an exemplary document detailing interreligious dialogue.
We quote Cardinal Tauran, from the Introduction:
Religions are the living expression of the soul of peoples and each of these religions testifies to the fact that the human person has been in the search for God for thousands of years; the Catholic Church has been involved in dialogue with religious traditions in every part of the world, at varying levels and with different degrees of intensity. As Catholics, we are urged by Jesus to be the “yeast and ferment” in midst of the world. Therefore, with the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy, our task is then to proclaim the merciful God made Man who turns His gaze towards all men and women, excluding none.
We are to be witnesses, as Pope Francis urges us, of a Church which goes out untiringly to proclaim a merciful God reviving in a world tired of violence and pain, a profound desire for mercy. Saint John Paul II also reminds us that: “Modern man often anxiously wonders about the solution to the terrible tensions which have built up in the world and which entangle humanity. And if at times he lacks the courage to utter the word ‘mercy’, or if in his conscience empty of religious content he does not find the equivalent, so much greater is the need for the Church to utter this word, not only in her own name but also in the name of all the men and women of our time” (Encyclical Letter Dives in Misericordia John Paul II, n. 15, 1980).
Let me explain the rationale for this publication. First of all, this compendium is of itself a product of interreligious collaboration. We have, in fact, asked experts belonging to other religious traditions to contribute to this text. In presenting the different religions, we maintained the same approach, that of elaborating on the theme of mercy. Certain excerpts from the sacred texts of the various religious traditions are presented for reflection. Aware that some religions do not have sacred texts, nevertheless, they have concepts and ideas inspired by mercy which are also included.
The religions that are described in this text are listed in alphabetical order. … … Several excerpts from Pope Francis’s texts on interreligious dialogue are also included. It would not be possible to include everything Pope Francis has said regarding interreligious dialogue, nor would it be the place to do so. Included are excerpts from the Encyclical Letters Lumen Fidei and Laudato si’, from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium as well as several speeches.
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