In keeping with the commitment of the Catholic Church to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs sponsors a number of dialogues with other Christian communions and members of other religions in the United States or North America. In most cases these dialogues parallel those that the Holy See sponsors at the universal level.
Dialogue commissions often summarize their findings in reports or agreed statements that are then made public for the consideration of the authorities and faithful of both of the dialogue partners. As such, reports and agreed statements have no authority beyond that of the dialogue commission itself. They do not necessarily represent the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or that of the dialogue partner. Nevertheless, they represent the work of competent theologians and deserve serious consideration.
Catholic members of each dialogue commission are named by the Catholic co-chairman after consultation with the potential member’s bishop. Catholic participants are chosen on the basis of their expertise in a given area depending on the work of the dialogue in question. They are given the task to identify, in conversation with the dialogue partners, areas that could be fruitfully studied and then carry out an investigation of those topics in an endeavor to overcome divisions or misunderstandings. The Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs hopes that the texts produced as a result of these efforts will promote unity and understanding, and be useful to pastors, theologians, ecumenical/interfaith staff, and others of good will.