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Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald is an expert on interreligious dialogue (Parramatta Diocese)

One of the Church’s foremost experts on interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald, delivered a public lecture in Parramatta urging followers of different religions to engage with one another to counter violence and discrimination in the world and to draw closer to God. Source: Catholic Outlook. 

Cardinal Fitzgerald is the former head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, now called the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue. 

In his lecture – presented by the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations and the Diocese of Parramatta – the British cardinal discussed developments inspired by Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate, an almost 60-year-old document that ushered in a new era in Christian relations with other religions.

He told the audience at St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall that since Nostra Aetate was published all popes had “faithfully followed” its teaching. 

Pope Francis, for example, had highlighted that interreligious dialogue “was a necessary condition for peace in the world and it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities”, Cardinal Fitzgerald said.

This striving for peace and understanding had only become more important since Nostra Aetate was published, he said. 

Greater travel and communication between people had allowed more opportunity for friendship, but also the opposite where “disrespect for a religious figure can provoke demonstrations on an almost universal scale”. 

Cardinal Fitzgerald said the first aim of interreligious dialogue was “to help people of different religions to live together in peace and harmony”.

“It implies breaking down prejudices and eliminating any discrimination based on religion,” he said, adding it was not easy and “should not be considered lightly”.

“For we must remember that peace on earth, between individuals and peoples and nations, is an anticipation of that peace which is in fact a mark of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The second aim, he said, was to “foster cooperation among people of different religions in the service of humanity”.


Cardinal Fitzgerald on why interreligious dialogue is important now more than ever (By Antony Lawes, Catholic Outlook)