The New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interfaith Relations has released a revised booklet promoting Interfaith Relations in Aotearoa New Zealand – Te Whakatairanga i te Nohotahitanga o ngā Whakapono i Aotearoa. The booklet provides guidance and encouragement for people to welcome and nurture relationships with those of other faiths.
NZCBCIR chair Colin MacLeod says, ‘We see these guidelines as being useful for dioceses, parishes, schools and chaplaincies. Our world is often marked by conflicts, violence and war and fostering deeper dialogue and greater understanding of beliefs and cultures underpins any pathway to peace.’
This revision challenges and supports readers to develop their own faith, while building relationships with those who may hold religious beliefs different from their own.
As Pope Francis states, ‘Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and so it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities. This dialogue is in first place a conversation about human existence or simply, as the bishops of India have put it, a matter of being open to them, sharing their joys and sorrows.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 250)
NZCBCIR was established in 2009 to promote greater understanding and respect between the members of the Catholic Church and members of other faiths in New Zealand. The committee is made up of representatives from each diocese and meets three times a year.
Hard copies of the booklet have been distributed to Catholic secondary schools to support the World Religions unit in year 12 and copies will soon be available in parishes. An electronic version is online at catholic.org.nz/about-us/nzcbc/#section_24