News Centre

Dialogue between Abrahamic Communities

The launch of a book on the dialogue between Catholic monks and Shi'ite Muslims took place on 10 November at Vaughan House during an evening full of joy, mutual respect and understanding. Among the guests were a good number of men and women from Religious Orders, and at least 20 Muslims.
Jon Dal Din, Director of Westminster Interfaith, opened the meeting with prayer and spoke about Vaughan House, Cardinal Vaughan, and the Diocese of Westminster.
Jonathan Cotton OSB then spoke about his initial involvement in this dialogue about 18 years ago and how Timothy Wright, from Ampleforth Abbey, had responded enthusiastically to the proposal.
Archbishop Kevin McDonald, chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Dialogue and Unity, placed interreligious dialogue into context, especially dialogue with Islam since the Second Vatican Council with the publication 50 years ago of Nostra Aetate, the Church's document on interreligious relations.
Sheikh Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali, one of the editors of the book, shared his experience of dialogue with Catholics over the past 18 years. He cited, in particular, his positive experience with the Focolare Movement around the world and with Benedictine nuns and monks. He illustrated this with images of his last encounter with Benedictines at the Bose community house in Assisi.
A sense of hope and enthusiasm characterised the evening, which ended with an exchange of gifts and prayer.
The title of the book, Monks and Muslims III: Towards a Global Abrahamic Community, and the first words of Psalm 133: ‘Behold, how good and pleasant it is when God's people dwell together in unity’ together offered a prophetic sign for a troubled world in an event which left the participants eager to further their dialogue.