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Catholics, Muslims urged to work together, learn from one another


  • Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego comments at a March 8 public session held during the March 7-9 National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue in Chicago. The dialogue, which had as its theme "Reflections on the Common Good and Hospitality in the Catholic and Muslim Traditions," took place at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)
  • Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago visits March 8 with Scott Alexander, associate professor of Islamic studies at Catholic Theological Union, and Saleha Jabeen, a 2014 graduate of the theological union. They spoke following a publis session held during the March 7-9 National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, which had as its theme "Reflections on the Common Good and Hospitality in the Catholic and Muslim Traditions" and was held at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)
  • Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego comments at a March 8 public session that was held during the March 7-9 National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue in Chicago. The dialogue, which had as its theme "Reflections on the Common Good and Hospitality in the Catholic and Muslim Traditions," took place at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)

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CHICAGO (CNS) -- Leaders in Catholic-Muslim dialogue called on members of both faith communities to find ways to accompany one another and work together at a moment when all religion is under threat from an increasingly secular and even anti-religious society.

San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy, co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' West Coast Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, and Sherman Jackson, a professor of religion and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California Dornsife, both offered comments at a March 8 public session in Chicago.

The public session came during the March 7-8 National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, co-sponsored by the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and held at the Catholic Theological Union.

Bishop McElroy said that theological dialogue and reflection is important, but the relationship between Catholics and Muslims in the United States must extend beyond theologians and take on a pastoral aspect.

"It is not enough to clarify our commonalities and differences on a deep theological level or even to publish these findings, if we do not take steps to broadly convey this deepened level of friendship and truth to Muslims and Catholics within our nation," he said.

At the moment, Catholic and Muslim communities simply do not know one another well enough, the bishop said.

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