I arrived at work this morning to the news that Archbishop Fitzgerald (President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue) has been reassigned as Nuncio to Egypt. There has been a good deal of speculation about this, but the reports that I find most interesting are in Catholic World News and John Allen’s Word from Rome.
Even before I read Allen’s comments, I asked myself “Is this to be read as a vote of no confidence in Mons. Fitzgerald?”, and answered “No, not possible” for two reasons: 1) as Allen reports, Fitzgerald is very moderate in his approach, and I would say that he has always represented the Church in interfaith affairs with the greatest fidelity; 2) he would have to be the Vatican’s most expert theologian in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians. When I put the last consideration together with the fact that the Al-Azhar University is in Egypt, and the Vatican relates to Al-Azhar as the major partner in the dialogue with Islam, the whole thing “clicked”, and (if you will excuse my lack of humility) I felt confident that I could see what Benedict is thinking on this.
CWN reports that “his departure may be a signal that the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue will be eliminated”. That may be the hope of a certain element “right-of-centre” Catholicism that has never accepted the fact that the Church is committed to interreligious dialogue, but I don’t believe a word of it. It would certainly be a very counter-intuitive move in a “post-Sept-11” world. The work of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission in Melbourne has more than doubled in the last five years and all because of the importance that interfaith dialogue has on the Melbourne scene. I believe this is mirrored in other dioceses, and can’t for the life of me see how it does not apply to the Vatican. I also can’t square this forecast with the Pope’s own stated commitment to interreligious relations.
I had the pleasure of being a part of a conference in which the Archbishop was the key facilitator back in 2002. I credit him with “converting” me (a very conservative convert to Catholicism) to the value of interfaith dialogue. I have been hoping ever since that he would be recognised with a cardinal’s hat, and acknowledge that his redeployment to Egypt will at least put this development on hold. I hope, however, that John Allen is right in suggesting that this may simply be a “detour” rather than a “roadblock” along that road.
It could well be that Pope Benedict is less concerned with his prelates’ career paths, and more concerned with getting the right man for the job (ie. putting people where their Spirit-given gifts can shine for all the world to see). For which we would all be thankful.
Peccator apud peccatores, et insanus apud insanos
- First time Commentators click here before posting!
- Other Stuff
- Catholic priesthood crisis
- Catholic Theological College Bible Lands Study Tour 2012
- Extracts from the Manual on Indulgences (2006)
- MacKillop-Woods Way Pilgrimage 2016-2019
- My Anima Education course notes
- My Articles
- “How to live best alongside Muslims in Australia”
- Council of Christians and Jews: “Same-Sex Marriage” Panel – Presentation by David Schütz
- Ecumenism, Interfaith Dialogue and the New Evangelisation
- Evangelisation and Proselytisation
- Passover meets Easter
- Response to a further enquiry on “How Jesus the Faithful Jew became the Christ of Christian Faith”
- Response to Paul Forgasz on “How Jesus the Faithful Jew became the Christ of Christian Faith”
- The Christian Hope and Christian Dialogue with Jews (2013)
- The New Evangelisation – Presentation to the National Conference of the Catholic Women’s League of Australia
- My Aussie Camino – The Inaugural MacKillop-Woods Way Pilgrimage (April 2014)
- My Essays On Liturgical Music and Song
- My Interviews
- My Reviews
- Prayers for the Burial of a Pet
- To the Holy Door: A Pilgrimage of Mercy (December 13)
- Who is Schütz?
All opinions on this page expressed by the blog owner are those of the blog owner alone, and are in no way to be taken as the opinions of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne or its agencies.
Any opinion on this page expressed by a visiting commentator is the opinion of that commentator alone and is in no way to be taken as the opinion of the blog owner.
I hope that is clear enough for everyone?
About This Blog
SCE is a blog in "the Spirit of Benny 16". It is a place to discuss Catholic Theology, Ecumenism, Interfaith relations, History, Liturgy, Philosophy and whatever topics are hot in the ecclesiastical world!
I view the combox as the most important feature of this site, and I imagine our commentators sharing a glass of after dinner port as we discuss in a gentlemanly/ladylike manner the issues most dear to us.
Our motto on this blog is:
"Maior autem his est spes"
Please Join the Commentary Table!
Want to leave a comment? Haven't posted on SCE before? Click here to find out how to fast track the moderation of your first comment and become an approved SCE commentator.
Sign up to DropboxUse this link to sign up to Dropbox, and get extra free space for yourself and me! http://db.tt/rvgBYop
Subscribe to Email Updates