"The Vatican: Beyond the Abrahamic Dialogue," a Commentary by Eboo Patel

April 20, 2008


Source: Newsweek/Washington Post


As usual, Jews and Muslims got all the headlines when it came to the Pope’s interfaith meetings.

But one of the most interesting things to me about the interfaith event that I attended on Thursday (read my discussion of it here), was the presence of Jains, Hindus and Buddhists.

Including religious communities beyond the Abrahamic trinity in interfaith dialogue has been the official position of the Catholic Church since Vatican II. Nostra Aetate, the famous Vatican II document that formally opened the Church’s doors to dialogue, has a special sections devoted to the Church’s unique relationships with Muslims and Jews. But it also addresses itself to Hindus, Buddhists and members of other faiths with the following line: "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men."