Official Statements and Documents - Other Religions


Papal statements:

A selection of papal statements on Islam may be found online at the American Bishops’ website 

Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio) On the Permanent Validity of the Church’s Missionary Mandate, encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II, 1990. See esp. paragraphs 55 – 57 on “Dialogue with our brothers and sisters of other religions”.

Ecclesia In Europa, Post-Synodal Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, June 28, 2003.  See esp. paragraphs 55, 57 on “In dialogue with other religions” from Section II: Bearing witness in unity and dialogue.

Documents of Vatican II and the Roman Curia:

Vatican II Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions  (Nostra Aetate), (1965).

Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), # 16, (1964).

Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), #22, (1965)

Toward the Meeting of Religions (1967), issued by the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christians.

Guidelines for Dialogue Between Christians and Muslims (1981), issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. (English edition - Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1990).

The Attitude of the Church Toward the Followers of Other Religions: Reflections and Orientations on Dialogue and Mission (1984), issued by the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christians.

Dialogue and Proclamation: Reflection and Orientations on Interreligious Dialogue and the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1991), issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (formerly the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christians, renamed in 1988).

Christianity and the World Religions (1997), issued by the Pontifical Theological Commission – not on the subject of interreligious dialogue per se.

Additional Resources:

Collection of statements and documents: Interreligious Dialogue: The Official Teaching of the Catholic Church (1963 – 1995), issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pauline Books and Media, Boston, 1997 (N.B.- This collection does not contain statements on the Church’s dialogue with Judaism.)

Meeting Other Believers: The Risks and Rewards of Interreligious Dialogue, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Huntington, IN, 1997.  A “must read” for those who wish to engage in interreligious dialogue, this book is a very helpful resource from the former Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.