Laudato Si’ ideal for progressing positive Christian-Muslim dialogue

One of the most significant interventions on the global ecological crisis – Pope Francis’ second encyclical Laudato Si’ – is having an unexpected and positive influence on the practice of interreligious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

From the historic signing of the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, to the 2015 Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change, the call for ecological conversion is resonating with two of the world’s major religions.

A joint lecture between ACU and the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) to be held at the ACU Rome Campus and live streamed to a global audience, will further explore how the landmark encyclical has found common ground among Christians and Muslims in Australia, and beyond.

The lecture will coincide with the international events marking Laudato Si’ Week, May 22-29.

Speakers include Dr Emmanuel Nathan, Director of ACU’s Centre for Studies of the Second Vatican Council and Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Comparative Theology. Associate Professor Zuleyha Keskin from the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at Charles Sturt University and Rev Dr Patrick McInerney SSC, Director of the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations in Sydney will both provide contributions and responses.

All three scholars will address the concept of human fraternity and ecological conversion from the context of Christian-Muslim dialogue. The event will also include analysis of the Abu Dhabi Declaration from the perspective of Laudato Si’, Islamic perspectives on ecological challenges, and an interfaith response to the call to care for our common home.

Dr Nathan said Christian-Muslim dialogue in Australia was already “very active and robust” and that daily ecological realities were concerns for people from both faiths.

The upcoming lecture featuring Christian and Muslim scholars would, according to Dr Nathan, “open up an integrated learning ecology around interreligious dialogue that is framed by listening to the other, learning from the other and acting with the other in caring for our common home”.

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis called on the world to undergo what Pope John Paul II termed in 2001 a “global ecological conversion”, whereby all people of faith were encouraged to witness to their encounter with God by having a revered relationship with all of creation.

The 2022 ACU/PISAI Rome Lecture will be held on May 24, 2022, from 7-8.30pm (AEST) or 11am – 12.30pm (Rome time).

The lecture will be livestreamed online at this link.

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