On Wednesday the Catholic Church marked 50 years of Nostra Aetate (the Latin for “In our Time”), the Second Vatican Council Declaration on the Catholic Church’s relation with non-Christian religions and Jews. It was promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Blessed Pope Paul VI. Much of that “enormous expansion of interfaith efforts” in the Catholic Church can be traced to this short 624-word document.
Pope Francis marked the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate on Wednesday, October 28, dedicating his weekly general audience in Rome's St. Peter's Square to interreligious dialogue. The reading was from Nostra Aetate and the Pope followed it up with a discourse on interreligious dialogue. Present at the audience close to the Pope’s dais were representatives of various religions, whom he greeted warmly. Before concluding the audience, the Holy Father invited all to pray in silence, each one according to his or her religious tradition, asking the Lord to make them more brotherly and greater servants of the needy brothers and sisters.
Well, the representatives of religious were in Rome, to participate in an international conference to mark 50 years of Nostra Aetate. The October 26 - 28 conference was organized by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews. After the audience, several religious representatives were invited to a press briefing at the Vatican's Press Office.
Among them was Venerable Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera of the Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya in Sri Lanka. The senior Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition is the Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura and is also engaged in social work and in inter religious activities.