Monday, June 22, 2015

New U.S. Catholic-Buddhist “Dialogue of Fraternity” Begins Today in Rome

CNS photo/L'Osservatore Roma no via Reuters

By Anthony Cirelli

The Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is sponsoring a Buddhist-Catholic interreligious dialogue to be held for the first time in Rome from June 22 to 27, 2015. This Catholic-Buddhist dialogue is being held to implement the vision of Pope Francis: a “Dialogue of Fraternity.” The meeting will include 46 Catholic and Buddhist interreligious and social action leaders in the United States. The Catholic participants are from New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Washington D.C. area (representing the USCCB, the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers, the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Georgetown University). The Buddhist participants are leaders of communities in the five U.S. cities that represent the rich variety of Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tibetan Buddhism traditions.

Catholic-Buddhist interreligious dialogue in the USA, which in the past focused largely on developing mutual understanding, seeks with this new form of dialogue to build upon the traditional form by fostering interreligious collaboration to address the social problems faced by people in our communities. Accordingly, the theme of this Catholic-Buddhist dialogue will be “Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity.” As part of the overall agenda, time will be given to discuss how Buddhists and Catholics in the five cities can continue to expand this fraternity upon their return and to collaborate in addressing social ills.

The participating members from the Buddhist tradition have been involved in interreligious relations and are committed to building fraternal collaboration with the Catholic Church. The Catholic participants are representatives of the groups listed above, as well as other Catholic social services agencies, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, the Friars of the Atonement, and the Focolare Movement, the hosts of the dialogue in Rome. The program includes participation in the Papal audience on Wednesday.

His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who will deliver the welcoming address at the dialogue, has called for “cooperation with other pilgrims and people of good will…denouncing all those social ills that damage fraternity.” (2014 PCID Vesakh Message) Given this request, Donald W. Mitchell, organizer of the dialogue, says: “We will meet to dialogue about nature, causes, and healing of relational ills and the social problems they cause. Then, we will explore ways to work together upon our return to the United States to heal and reconcile relational ills in our cities in the spirit of fraternity.”


Anthony Cirelli, Ph.D., is associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Five Things To Remember On June 22

1. The Fortnight For Freedom began yesterday in Baltimore. According to the Catholic Review, Archbishop William Lori said during his homily, “Religious institutions in the United States are in danger of losing their freedom to hire for mission and their freedom to defend the family. Endangered is the freedom of church ministries to provide employee benefits and to provide adoptions and refugee services in accord with the church’s teaching on faith and morals. It is one thing for others to disagree with the church’s teaching but quite another to discriminate against the rights of believers to practice our faith, not just in word but in the way we conduct our daily life, ministry and business.”

2. As people await the Supreme Court's decision on marriage, it's worth sharing the Catholic teachings on marriage

3. If you're still unpacking the teachings of Laudato Si', perhaps Catholic News Service's terminology guide for the encyclical will be helpful to share.

4. Did you miss Archbishop Joseph Kurtz's statement on the Charleston shooting, racism and violence? Read it here.

5. God loves you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five Things To Remember On June 19

1. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the USCCB, responded to the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, with “grief and deep sadness,” June 19. He said the Catholic community “stands with all people who struggle for an end to racism and violence, in our families, in our places of worship, in our communities and in our world.”

2. The Fortnight For Freedom begins this Sunday. Learn more at

3. Did you miss the press conference discussing the release of the encyclical "Laudato Si'" with Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington? Watch it here:

4. Here are a number of resources to help you, your staff or friends discuss the encyclical and Church teachings on the environment.

5. God loves you.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Five Things To Remember On June 18

1. Pope Francis' encyclical on the need to care for creation is stirring conversation. Read it now on the Vatican's site.

2. USCCB President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the USCCB, welcomed the encyclical and you can see his press conference from earlier today.

3. Archbishop Kurtz commented on the Charleston shooting briefly before starting the conference.
A video posted by U.S. Catholic Bishops (@usccb) on

4. As you close the day, watch this incredible video produced by the Vatican on Laudato Si'.

5. God loves you. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

'Laudato Si' Media Conference Live Stream

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, welcome Pope Francis' new encyclical "Laudato Si," Thursday, June 18, 8:30 a.m., at the National Press Club in Washington.

The event will also be streamed over Twitter via Periscope. Those on Twitter can watch by following the USCCB’s Twitter account. Shortly before the event begins, the will share a link via Periscope. Downloading the Periscope app via Apple and Android app stores will allow you to watch the app by following @USCCB there as well.

USCCB resources on the encyclical and environmental justice can be found at:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Five Things To Remember On June 16

1. In just two days, the Vatican will release Pope Francis' highly anticipated encyclical letter "Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home."  Find resources on the topic and read what the U.S. bishops and previous popes have written about our environment.

2. The Fortnight for Freedom is taking place from June 21 to July 4, 2015, with the theme of the “Freedom to Bear Witness.” The Fortnight is a two-week period of prayer, education, and action in support of religious liberty. For more information, visit

3. The Peter's Pence Collection is June 27-28 and helps Pope Francis reach out to victims of war and natural disaster witness charity.

4. Pope Francis said today that priests showing a concern for poverty issues is not a sign of communism. It is at the heart of the Gospel.

5. God loves you.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Five Things To Remember On June 15

1. This Thursday, the Vatican will release Pope Francis' highly anticipated encyclical letter "Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home." Find resources on the topic and read what the U.S. bishops and previous popes have written about our environment.

2. The Fortnight For Freedom starts this Sunday in Baltimore with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori. The focus is on the right to bear witness to faith in society. Learn more at

3. Did you miss any of the presentations or reports from last week's USCCB General Assembly? Catch up here.

4. During a homily, Pope Francis talked about today's readings and the need to turn the other cheek to those who have done us wrong.

5. God loves you.