This event occurred on September 16, 2008
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
John Borelli, special assistant to President DeGoia for interreligious initiatives, addressed the Catholic Church's embrace of dialogue in the decades after Vatican II (1962-65) and some of the internal and external tensions it has occassioned. The Council used the term "mission" to describe its activity, and the relationship between mission and dialogue remains a complex issue with several unresolved theological questions. If the object of mission is conversion, then any other motives for dialogue seem undermined. Currently there is growing concern in Catholic-Jewish relations over understanding the relationship between covenant and mission. Catholic-Muslim relations have stagnated recently in the wake of statements by Benedict XVI. Priorities, different understandings of salvation, and lack of attention to past animosities have contributed to the lack of resolution between the concepts and strategies of mission and dialogue within the Church.
Dr. John Borelli is the Special Assistant to the President for Interreligious Initiatives at Georgetown University, a post he has held since 2004, and is responsible particularly for designing and coordinating special projects that further the university's contributions to interreligious understanding. For sixteen years, he was the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, serving as Interim Director from 2001-2002. He staffed the Bishops' Subcommittee on Interreligious Dialogue, managing three ongoing regional dialogues with Muslims, one dialogue with Buddhists, and one dialogue with Hindus, along with other interreligious projects. He has also worked on national ecumenical dialogues with Orthodox Christians and Anglicans and has facilitated other ecumenical activities.