During his scheduled visit to Washington, DC, next week, Pope Benedict XVI will host an interfaith gathering at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center there. Representatives of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish, and Muslim communities will join with the Pope for conversation and dialogue. The theme of the dialogue will be “Religions Working for Peace.”
The Pope will speak to a gathered group of some 200 people, and symbolic gifts from each of the five traditions will be shared with Benedict.
Benedict has been generally praised for his work in interfaith relations, but concerns have been raised by members of the Muslim and Jewish communities about certain of his decisions and statements. Muslims were offended by Benedict’s quoting a Byzantine Emperor’s negative assessment of Muhammad a couple of years ago (Benedict later clarified that he did not agree with the quote). Jews have been concerned about Benedict’s reinstatement of some liturgical prayers which have been understood as supporting antisemitism in the past.
- Pope to Host Interfaith Gathering (Voice of America)
- Pope’s Visit Seen as Chance for Interfaith Dialogue
(ABC 7- Washington)