New interfaith booklet promotes peace and understanding

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interfaith Relations (NZCBCIR) 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 practical guidance and encouragement for people to welcome and nurture relationships with those of other faiths.

Chair of the NZCBCIR, Colin MacLeod says, “we see these guidelines as being particularly useful for dioceses, parishes, schools and chaplaincies. The world in which we live is often marked by conflicts, violence and war and fostering deeper dialogue people and greater understanding of beliefs and cultures underpins any pathway to peace.”

This revision, founded in humility and respect, challenges and supports readers to develop their own faith, while building dialogue and relationships with those who may hold very different religious beliefs from their own. 

As Pope Francis simply 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.)

The NZCBCIR was established in October 2009 to support promoting greater understanding, respect and dialogue 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 in Aotearoa New Zealand and meets three times a year.

Hard copies of the booklet will be available in parishes in 2019. Copies have already been sent to Catholic secondary schools to support the World Religions unit in year 12. An electronic version is available to everyone online.