Christians and Confucianism: Vatican and local experts discuss guidelines for dialogue

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Christians and Confucianism: Vatican and local experts discuss guidelines for dialogueVatican City (AsiaNews) - Two important initiatives to encounter East Asian religious tradition and thought see the Taiwan-Hong Kong Interreligious Dialogue Dicastros engaged in these days.

An international seminar entitled "Christians promoting dialogue with Confucians: guidelines and perspectives" was held March 8 and 9 in New Taipei, Taiwan. The initiative-promoted in collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University-is part of a track that aims to formulate official guidelines for Catholics engaging in dialogue with followers of Confucianism.

Already last January 15, the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue had convened an online study group, animated by Prof. Umberto Bresciani, an Italian for more than 50 years in Taiwan who has been pursuing this reflection at Fu Jen Catholic University for some time. That first discussion was attended by scholars and practitioners of interreligious dialogue who live or have roots, in addition to Taiwan, in the People's Republic of China, In Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, Italy and the United States.

Msgr. Indunil Kodithwakuu Kankanamalage, secretary of the dicastery, opening that meeting had explained that this study group is part of a tradition carried on by the Vatican body, which has already developed guidelines for dialogue with Buddhists, Hindus and traditional Asian religions. Now," he had added, "a new need has emerged to develop an official dialogue with Confucians. "And as we work to build on the 'seed' that has been planted," he had concluded, "let us always keep in mind that 'God is the One who makes it grow.

The meeting held these days in New Taipei was a significant step forward in this journey, involving a wider audience interested in promoting Confucian-Christian dialogue.

The drafting of the guidelines," the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue explains in a statement, "will be followed by a final review process and is expected to serve as a valuable resource for individuals, organizations and communities both inside and outside the Catholic Church seeking to engage in dialogue with followers of Confucianism.

Starting tomorrow - on the other hand - the same Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, is participating in Hong Kong in the third Christian-Taoist Dialogue, promoted in collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong and the Taoist Association of Hong Kong. The initiative-which will continue until March 13, 2024-has the theme "Cultivating a Harmonious Society through Interfaith Dialogue." The conference will be attended by Christian and Taoist believers and scholars from various countries, including Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, France, Italy, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore.

The participants will reflect on the following topics: "Christian and Taoist Scriptural Foundations for Cultivating a Harmonious Society," "Cultivating Harmony through Worship and Liturgy," "Tao/The Way and De/Virtue in Dialogue and Practice," "Holiness in Taoism and Christianity," and "Transmitting Religious Faiths and Values in a Globalized World."

"This colloquium," the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue further explains, "will provide a platform for both Christians and Taoists to deepen their understanding of each other, to understand how disharmony generates pain and suffering, and to work together to heal today's fragmented world.