WASHINGTON (July 10, 2001) -- Dr. John Borelli, an expert in interreligious relations and a skilled ecumenist who has served on the staff of the Secretariat of the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the past 14 years, has been named Interim Director of the Secretariat.
The appointment was announced by Msgr. William P. Fay, General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Msgr. Fay said Dr. Borelli had accepted the invitation to serve as Interim Director while a search is underway for a successor to Father John F. Hotchkin. Father Hotchkin served as Executive Director of the Secretariat from 1971 until his unexpected death on June 24.
Born in Oklahoma City, John Borelli received a B.A. in Philosophy cum laude from St. Louis University in 1968 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1970, he served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. In 1976, he completed a doctorate in theology and history of religions at Fordham University.
In 1987, he joined the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the Catholic Bishops' Conference. He now serves as staff for the Subcommittee on Interreligious Dialogue which oversees three dialogues with Muslims, as well as dialogues with Hindus and Buddhists. Responsible for relations with Byzantine Orthodox churches until 1995, Dr. Borelli now assists with Anglican-Catholic relations. He co-edited The Quest for Unity, a collection of documents of Orthodox-Catholic dialogues. In 2001, he was elected chairman of the National Ecumenical Officers Association.
The Holy See appointed him a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in 1989. He participated in the Council's colloquium on Christ and other religions in 1993, attended the Council's pleanary in 1995, participated in its Interreligious Assembly in 1999, and attended a consultation on the spirituality of interreligious dialogue this year. A member of the International Buddhist-Christian Theological Encounter Group, he is also an advisor to the Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue at the Catholic University of America, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, and the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center.
From 1976 to 1987, he directed religious studies at the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York City and has lectured at New York University, Hunter College, St. Louis University, Manhattan College, De Nobili College (Pune, India), St. Bonaventure University, and Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon.
He served the Ecumenical Commission of the Archdiocese of New York from 1982 to 1987, and in 1986-87 was the Secretary-General for the U.S. Conference of Religions for Peace, a multireligious non-governmental organization affiliated with the United Nations.
His articles, addresses and reports have been published in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vatican II, the Continuing Agenda, Marian Studies, New Theology Review, Jubilee 2000, Mid Stream, Ecumenical Trends, Origins, Faith Alive, the Living Light, Buddhist-Christian-Studies, and America.
Dr. Borelli and his wife, Marianne, have three children and live in Bethesda, Maryland.