2015 Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue on “Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity”
June 23-27, 2015
Location: Rome, Italy
The Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Inter religious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Inter religious Dialogue convened a Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue on “Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity” in Rome, Italy from June 23 to 27, 2015.
45 Buddhists and Catholics involved in interreligious dialogue and/or social action in the United States attended from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The Archdioceses of these five cities supported the dialogue. Among the Catholic participants were representatives from Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Focolare Movement, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, and the Catholic Association for Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers. Buddhist participants from the Unites States included leaders representing the Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions.
The dialogue strengthened mutual understanding concerning human suffering and means of liberation, as well as deepened relationships as a basis for interreligious cooperation based on shared values. The objective of this “dialogue of fraternity,” as it is called by Pope Francis, is to create new and practical forms of collaboration reaching out to those in need in the cities of the participants in the United States of America.
After this dialogue, the participants agreed to return together to their cities to explore the following kinds of joint interfaith social action initiatives:
- Addressing global climate change on the local level
- Creating outreach program for youth in the cities
- Collaborating in prison/jail ministries and restorative justice matters
- Developing resources for the homeless such as affordable housing
- Educating and providing resources to address the issue of immigration
- Collaborating to create projects with local Catholic parishes and Buddhist communities to address neighborhood social issues
- Developing social outreach programs for value education to families
- Witnessing our shared commitment as brothers and sisters, our religious values and spiritual practices, and our social collaboration with our religious communities and others in our cities.