(Vatican Radio) ‘Vatican II: Remembering the Future’ is the title of a four day international conference taking place in Washington DC this week, exploring the broad ecumenical and interfaith impact of the Second Vatican Council.
The encounter, which opens on May 21st will he hosted jointly by the Jesuit Georgetown University in Washington and by Marymount University in nearby Arlington, Virginia. It’s the 9th annual conference organised by the Ecclesiological Investigations Research Network, an international group of theologians and academics from across the Christian world and beyond.
But how will this meeting be different from the many other special events marking this year’s 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council? Philippa Hitchen, who'll be attending the conference, put that question to Georgetown’s Professor Gerard Mannion, chair of the E.I. network and one of the main organisers of the Washington event…
Mannion says there are lots of conferences commemorating the Council, but the organisers of this event were looking for something with an enduring legacy beyond the cycle of commemorative events. They decided to explore perspectives on the way the Council affected other churches and other faith communities, as well as secular thinking, to reflect the opening that Pope John XXIII encouraged beyond the walls of the Catholic Church…
He says the conference will feature speakers from other Christian Churches and other faith groups, as well as emerging Catholic voices from across the globe and some prominent Catholic leaders. These include Cardinal Walter Kasper, former head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, who’ll be speaking in Washington’s National Cathedral on the future of ecumenism, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who’ll be inaugurating the encounter and Cardinal Louis Tagle from the Philippines who’ll be exploring the global vision of Vatican II….
Mannion says Washington DC is an evocative setting for this conference because of its religious diversity, with many different Christian churches, temples, synagogues and other places of worship located in close proximity. As the first Catholic university in the United States, Georgetown was founded by Archbishop John Carroll as a place of welcome to people of all religious traditions, making it an appropriate site for an encounter seeking to continue the dialouge begun by Vatican II….
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