(Vatican Radio) Buddhist and Catholic leaders from the United States have concluded a meeting in Rome calling for closer cooperation on key environmental and social justice initiatives. A joint statement at the end of the meeting, which was held from June 23rd to 27th on the theme of ‘Suffering, Liberation and Fraternity”, said the dialogue “strengthened mutual understanding” about these issues and “deepened relationships as a basis for interreligious cooperation based on shared values”.
Below please find the full statement from the conclusion of the Buddhist-Catholic encounter:
The Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue convened a Buddhist Catholic Dialogue on "Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity" in Rome, Italy from June 23 to 27, 2015.
45 Buddhists and Catholics involved in interreligious dialogue and/or social action in the United States attended from New York , Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The Archdioceses of these five cities supported the dialogue. Among the Catholic participants were representatives from Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Focolare Movement, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, and the Catholic Association for Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers. Buddhist participants from the Unites States included leaders representing the Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions.
The dialogue strengthened mutual understanding concerning human suffering and means of liberation, as well as deepened relationships as a basis for interreligious cooperation based on shared values. The objective of this "dialogue of fraternity," as it is called by Pope Francis, is to create new and practical forms of collaboration reaching out to those in need in the cities of the participants in the United States of America.
After this dialogue, the participants agreed to return together to their cities to explore the following kinds of joint interreligious social action initiatives:
• Addressing global climate change on the local level
• Creating outreach program for youth in the cities
• Collaborating in prison/jail ministries and restorative justice matters
• Developing resources for the homeless such as affordable housing
• Educating and providing resources to address the issue of immigration
• Collaborating to create projects with local Catholic parishes and Buddhist communities to address neighborhood social issues
• Developing social outreach programs for value education to families
• Witnessing our shared commitment as brothers and sisters, our religious values and spiritual practices, and our social collaboration with our religious communities and others in our cities.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Bishop of Springfield, Chair, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
Acharya Fleet Maull, Shambhala Meditation Center
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Ven. M. Dhammasiri, Washington Buddhist Vihara
Dr. Sovan Tun, Cambodian Buddhist Society
Ven. Chao Chu, Los Angeles Buddhist Union
Ven. Thich Tu-Luc, Compassion Meditation Center
Ven. Phramaha Thanat Inthisan, Wat Thai of Washington, DC
Ven. Chung Ohun Lee, Won Buddhist Temple