By Fr. Albeiro Rodas
Social Communication Delegate
Cambodia Delegation THA Province
Cambodia, Kep Province; on ZOOM, 20 March 2023 -- Following the program for the Social Communication School of Formation of EAO Region, Fr Albeiro Rodas provided some insights about the Interreligious Dialogue from the Catholic Church perspective. “This is something I find very important before starting any process of interreligious dialogue with our brothers and sisters of other churches or religion systems. Being in a Buddhist country like Cambodia, we feel that we are everyday inside a process of interreligious dialogue through the actions of our mission, where we have students and teachers who are mostly Buddhist and a few of them Muslims. In Cambodia, the Buddhist pagoda is the center of the culture and society, and it also marks our walk together with the Cambodian people”, said Fr Rodas. He elaborates:
The Catholic Doctrine offered to us three main documents to guide the interreligious dialogue. It helps us to clarify first our identity before leading any process of interreligious dialogue. However, it is important to underline that we are living already in a globalized generation, where young people are meeting people from different cultures and traditions. In this sense, the Catholic Church finds it important to prepare our faithful for that.
The three main documents for Interreligious Dialogue are:
- Dialogue in Truth and Charity from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, 19 May 2014 - https://www.dicasteryinterreligious.va/dialogue-in-truth-and-charity/
- Dialogue and Proclamation - Reflection And Orientations On Interreligious Dialogue And The Proclamation Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples - 19 May 1991 - https://www.dicasteryinterreligious.va/dialogue-and-proclamation/
- The Attitude of the Church towards the Followers of Other Religions - Reflections and Orientations on Dialogue and Mission, Pentecost 1984 - https://www.dicasteryinterreligious.va/dialogue-and-mission-1984/
The Church identifies two levels of dialogue: The human level that is a reciprocal communication, leading to a common goal or, at a deeper level, to interpersonal communion and religious plurality level that means not only discussion, but also constructive relations with individuals and communities of other religions, which, in obedience to truth and respect for freedom, are directed at mutual understanding and the exploration of respective religious convictions. At the same time, we thank the modern means of transport and communication, especially the use of radio, television, and internet, for the space of exchange of religious and cultural experiences, something that is expanding through an ever growing physical and virtual presence.
For us Salesians, present in 134 countries, Interreligious Dialogue is always a challenge for our pastoral and missionary actions, where we are in close contact with students and teachers of other religions. As the Church invites us, Interreligious Dialogue must be always properly guided by faith, animated by charity, and oriented towards the common good, through mutual respect, knowledge, and trust.
Our next session will be animated by Fr Jaroslav, on Artificial Intelligence and will be held in the month of May.