March 2, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 12

University to Co-host Forum on Interreligious Relations

Political, historical and cultural issues surrounding religious identity will be topics of discussion at "In Our Time: Interreligious Relations in a Divided World," a conference sponsored by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College and Brandeis University taking place March 16 and 17.

Following the first slate of events on March 16 at Brandeis, the conference will shift that evening to BC for the remainder of the schedule. "In Our Time" will feature the first-ever visit to Boston of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and one of the Catholic Church's foremost experts in Islam.

The conference marks 40 years since the publication of the Second Vatican Council's historic "Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions." Known by its Latin title, Nostra Aetate (In Our Time), the declaration revolutionized the Catholic Church's understanding of Jews and Judaism, say conference organizers, overturning a centuries-long history of Christian theological denigration and offering a positive regard of and a new direction to the Catholic Church's understanding of Islam and other religions.

"This conference will highlight the importance of dialogue among all the world's religions," said Center for Christian-Jewish Learning Executive Director Philip Cunningham, one of the organizers of the conference. "This dialogue, in fact, is crucial in our world of today, so often in conflict along religious lines."

In addition to delivering the keynote address, "What the Catholic Church has Learned from the Interreligious Dialogue," at Brandeis on March 16, Archbishop Fitzgerald will present the lecture "The Promise of Interreligious Dialogue for a World in Conflict" at BC that evening at 7:30 p.m., following an introduction by Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, OFM, Cap.

Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz and Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ, will officially welcome Archbishop Fitzgerald to their respective campuses.

The conference also will feature Rev. Shanta Premawardhana, associate general secretary for Interfaith Relations for the National Council of Churches in the US, as well as other Christian clergy and congregational leaders.

More information is available at or ext.2-4495. -Kathleen Sullivan

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