WASHINGTON--Coming together under the joint sponsorship and guidance of the Islamic Circle of North America and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 18 Catholics and Muslims met recently for dialogue, prayer, and conversation.
A formal discussion of marriage and family life begun at the first session continued as the Mid-Atlantic Dialogue of Muslims and Catholics held its second annual meeting. The group convened at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, March 3-4.
Sheikh Ibrahim Najm of the Islamic Center of South Shore (Long Island) addressed the group on family values in contemporary society from an Islamic perspective. Dr. H. Richard McCord, Director of the NCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth, presented a paper on marriage in the Roman Catholic Church which covered both the theological understanding of marriage and the marriage rite itself. These presentations generated lengthy discussions of marriage covenants and contracts, requirements of Islamic law, and developments in marriage practice for both communities in the United States. Father William Corcoran of the Diocese of Burlington outlined the canonical aspects of marriage from a Catholic perspective.
The schedule allowed ample time for prayer, and in one session brief sermons were preached on Scriptural passages by a Catholic and a Muslim. In another session, participants reported developments in Christian-Muslim relations in their cities and towns. Catholic and
Muslim partners from Harrisburg and Buffalo reported on dialogues which were held between Muslim couples and Catholic couples on the same topic of marriage and family life. More of these "couples' dialogues" are encouraged for the coming year as the Mid-Atlantic Dialogue continues studying this topic. Participants have been asked to encourage dialogues of Catholic and Muslim couples on marriage and family values and to note those specific values which each tradition promotes.
Participants in this year's dialogue agreed to meet again in New York on February 23-24, 2000, for more discussion on the theme of marriage and family life. Muslim participants will explain in detail what is involved in a marriage contract and will describe the marriage ceremony which they use. Catholics will explain the meaning of sacrament with special reference to marriage. There will also be a discussion of how parents convey to their children the teachings and practices of the faith. The Catholic side plans to present the 1981 letter of Pope John Paul II on marriage and family, Familiaris Consortio.
Attending this meeting were Catholics and Muslims from Buffalo, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Vermont. Among the participants were: Dr. Khalid Qazi of Buffalo, Mr. Salman Yusuf of Philadelphia, Mr. Ali Dataee of the Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg, Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan of the Islamic Center of Long Island, and Sheikh Ibrahim Najm, the Rev. Francis X. Mazur of the Diocese of Buffalo, the Rev. Philip Latronico of the Archdiocese of Newark, the Rev. Michael Lynch of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Rev. Jeffrey Lee of the Diocese of Trenton, Deacon Charles Clark of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Brother David Carroll, FSC, of Catholic Near East Welfare Association and representing a Catholic-Muslim dialogue involving the Archdiocese of New York, the Rev. Gregory Fairbanks and Sister Josephine Kase, IHM, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Rev Dr. Bert Breiner of the Interfaith Relations Office of the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Rev. William Corcoran, and Dr. H. Richard McCord. Bishop Joseph F. Martino, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hosted the meeting and attended all sessions. Dr. Zahid Bukhari ICNA Director for Interreligious Relations, and Dr. John Borelli, NCCB Director for Interreligious Relations, co-convened the sessions.
For further information contact:
Dr. Zahid Bukhari
Islamic Circle of North America
Dr. John Borelli
National Conference of Catholic Bishops