Press kit Sept_17 Religious Leaders 1.pdf - POPE BENEDICT XVI

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Press kit Sept_17 Religious Leaders 1.pdf - POPE BENEDICT XVI Powered By Docstoc
					                               POPE BENEDICT XVI
                               PRESS PACK
                               Gathering with Religious Leaders and People of Faith
                               ‘Faiths working together for the common good’

11.30am to 12.30pm, Friday 17th September, 2010, St. Mary’s, Strawberry Hill


1. Introduction

2. Background to the gathering

3. Press contact

4. Programme of the Day

5. The work of Dialogue

1. Introduction:

On Friday, 17th September, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI will address a gathering of those committed to religions
working together for the common good in the Waldegrave Room at St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, in
Twickenham. This meeting reflects the important role that co-operation between religions plays in our society.

The Church in England and Wales is committed to furthering dialogue between religions. There is a network
of local co-ordinators who support and foster inter-religious work in their areas, meet regularly and are
supported centrally. One focus of their work is to contribute together to building a society that is better for

2. Background:

The gathering at St. Mary’s in Twickenham will be a meeting of senior figures from the nine main religions
present in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as people from these religions who have, in their diverse fields,
made significant contributions to the common good. Archbishop Patrick Kelly will welcome guests from –
amongst others – the fields of business, academia, public service and the voluntary sector.

In his Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (‘Concern rooted in Truth’), published against the background of the
international financial crisis, Pope Benedict spoke of ‘God’s love giving us the courage to continue seeking and
working for the benefit of all’.

Guests will have an opportunity for discussion and for pooling their experiences.

Pope Benedict will then address them.

At lunch, guests will have a further opportunity to discuss and reflect on the Pope’s words informally.
Pope Benedict sees the sorts of relationships reflected in this gathering as a priority flowing from his office.
He insists that dialogue carried forward in a spirit of openness, where different convictions are shared with

willingness to learn from each other, is inseparable from fidelity to Jesus Christ. In the homily at the Mass of
his inauguration as Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict recalled the words of Saint Paul about people of the Jewish
faith: ‘the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’. The unique binding together of the disciples of Jesus
with the vine which is the people God first called his own is sustained through the Commission for Religious
Relations with the Jews (a department within the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity). In that
same inaugural homily, he renewed the commitment of the Roman Catholic Church to that wider dialogue
sustained by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. Archbishop Patrick Kelly, who will be the host
for this element of the Holy Father’s visit, was recently appointed a member of this Council. The Holy Father
has recently encouraged awareness of how a heart rooted in faith, in religion, is powerfully motivated to
contribute to the common good.

The Holy Father’s commitment to dialogue is reflected in the Bishops’ of England and Wales’ recent teaching
document Meeting God in Friend and Stranger. Fostering respect and mutual understanding between the
religions. This document encourages all Catholics to engage – in whatever ways are open to them – in
dialogue expressed in conversation but equally through shared action, working together for the good of all.

3. Press contact:

Press officer (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales) for ‘Faiths working together for the
Common Good’:

Peter Heneghan
Telephone: 0151 522 1007
Mobile: 07802 517760

The Papal Visit News Coordination Centre (NCC) Operation contact details are as follows. The telephone
numbers are being monitored from Weds 15 September:

The generic email address which all in the NCC will have access to is:

Management Team
020 7276 3300

Press Team
020 7276 5001

Interview Requests, Briefing and Media Monitoring
020 7276 6606

4. Programme of the Day:

9 to 9.15 am arrivals, tea and coffee

9.30 am        Archbishop Patrick welcomes the guests

There is an opportunity for group discussions

10.45 am       Discussions conclude and guests move to the Waldegrave Room

11.30 am       The Holy Father will give an address

12.30 pm       His Holiness leaves the Waldegrave Room

12.35 pm       Buffet lunch

13.30 pm       The gathering comes to an end

5. The work of Dialogue:

Entering into dialogue with others, and especially with other religions, is an important part of being Catholic
– God has entered into a dialogue with us and with his Church, and Catholics want to continue that dialogue.
With a God who brings us closer to Him through our journey through time, Catholics also trust the signs of
the times. Global communications and, more and more, friends, neighbours and colleagues from religions
different from our own invite us to share our life and our beliefs.

Dialogue can lead to all sorts of things – a ‘wonderful friendship’, say, between two ladies, one Catholic
and one Jewish, who met in an inter-religious group, a shared concern for caring for the whole person by
medical professionals taking their spirituality into account, or pooling experiences of how religions enrich
lives through visits to places of worship. The recent teaching document of the Bishops of England and Wales,
Meeting God in Friend and Stranger. Fostering respect and mutual understanding between the religions, takes
account of this by introducing a whole series of different types of dialogues – some of which are easily put
into practice by Catholic lay people without any need for specific theological qualifications.

Dialogue requires a good basic knowledge of, and foundation in, one’s own religious tradition – Catholics can
reconnect to the deep spirituality of their own religion by seeking inspiration in other people’s religions. It
does take dedication and courage to break up the day with prayers, for example, or to carry our convictions
into life and food choices as consistently as those who belong to other religions do.

There are structures in the Catholic Church for dialogue. The Bishops’ Conference in England and Wales
is advised both by a Committee for Relations with Other Religions and by a Committee for Catholic/Jewish
Relations. There are co-ordinators for inter-religious work in each administrative district (diocese) of the
Church, and Catholics are part of or lead many inter-religious organisations and initiatives. Where possible,
inter-religious dialogue is carried out together with other Christians; this makes dialogue between Christians
(ecumenical dialogue) more important, rather than less so.

Dialogue can, and does, happen in well-structured and planned events – but it also benefits from openness
to the opportunities that present themselves besides these events: being a good and helpful neighbour,
informally sharing food and traditions during festivals, or coming together to celebrate life events that have a
religious component. Chatting to someone on the way to an event can be as effective as talking to those who
turn up there.

All major religions in Great Britain share the desire for dialogue, and the openness to others; in fact, the
warm welcome to be had in many places of worship (a Hindu Mandir, say, where bodily as well as spiritual
nourishment is given) is an experience not to be missed. Of course there are significant differences between
the religions; recognising this is not the end of dialogue, but rather its beginning. We are, however, much
more connected than separated: all children of the same creator.

The document Meeting God in Friend and Stranger. Fostering respect and mutual understanding between the
religions can be found at: