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At the May 21-24, 2015 theological conference titled “Vatican II, Remembering the Future: Ecumenical, Interfaith and Secular Perspectives on the Council’s Impact and Promise,” 270 participants form every continent gathered in Washington DC to focus on the vision and legacy of the Council.  The conference’s theme, “Vatican II – remembering the future,” was linked to 2015 because it is the final year marking the Council’s 50th anniversary.  The event was a collaborative effort between Georgetown University, the 9th Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network, Marymount University in Arlington, VA., and the Washington National Cathedral.

ccw 03There were presentations and conversations from many Christian, interfaith and secular traditions, including those of three Cardinals.  The conference began with French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who is remembered for announcing the election of Pope Francis from the balcony of the Vatican, emphasized the importance and need today “to know and understand other religions, especially Islam.”  There is an urgent need “to protect for all – social justice, moral values, peace and freedom.”  To do this, “we must come to know Muslims and understand their culture.”

ccw 04ArcabasSpeaking the second day, Philippines Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and newly elected president Cartias Internationalis, said that Vatican II rediscovered the Church’s understanding of mystery, mission and communion- and from there the Church opened itself to the world, other faiths and religions.  The Cardinal concluded that Vatican II is a global vision for today and tomorrow and is a reminder that the Church has opted to be “open to the world” and to not forget about human beings as Pope Francis frequently reminds us.

German Cardin Walter Kasper, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was the key speaker on Saturday at Washington’s National Cathedral.  ccw 05Maximino Cerezo BarredoHe focused on how Vatican II has impacted ecumenical and interfaith relations with other Christian churches in countries across the globe.  The 82 year old Kasper said that the many expectations raised by the Council fifty years ago have not been fulfilled, but that the work of implementing its “prophetic vision” has only just begun.  He challenged the younger generation to work for full, visible unity within the whole Christian family despite new tensions that could threaten and deter it.

Sr. Jeanne Glisky, SFP

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Published: July, 30, 2015