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US bishops launch 'conversations' with Muslims 'The Catholic Church must help to model real dialogue and good will'

posted Feb 10, 2016, 8:18 AM by Vidal Martinez
                               
            

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced the launch of a new national Catholic-Muslim dialogue group to combat the climate of fear surrounding Islam.

The initiative will encourage "crucial conversations" between Catholics and Muslims in the US,accordingto Christian Today.

"As the national conversation around Islam grows increasingly fraught, coarse and driven by fear and often willful misinformation, the Catholic Church must help to model real dialogue and good will," Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, said in a USCCB statement.

Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich will serve as the first Catholic co-chair but the Muslim co-chair is yet to be announced.

The bishops' ecumenical and interreligious committee has co-sponsored three regional Catholic-Muslim dialogues in the last 20 years, but this is the first national initiative, Christian Today says.

"As the national conversation around Islam grows increasingly fraught, coarse and driven by fear and often willful misinformation, the Catholic Church must help to model real dialogue and goodwill," Bishop Rozanski said.

"Our current dialogues have advanced the goals of greater understanding, mutual esteem and collaboration between Muslims and Catholics, and the members have established lasting ties of friendship and a deep sense of trust," he added.

The national dialogue will work alongside, not instead of, regional Catholic-Muslim dialogues. They are currently operating in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West Coast and each is co-chaired by a bishop and a Muslim leader from the region. These dialogues will continue to meet and will work collaboratively with the members of the new national dialogue.
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