Dr. John Borelli from Georgetown University to present 2013 Suarez Lecture

Mon, 02/25/2013 - 9:45am
Dr. John Borelli

MOBILE, Ala. – Dr. John Borelli from Georgetown University will be the featured speaker at the 2013 Suarez Lecture. His presentation, "'For all that is good and true in their worship of God': Catholic Approaches to Christian-Muslim Relations from Vatican II to the Present," will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013 in Byrne Memorial Hall on the Spring Hill College campus.

In this 50th anniversary period of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), it is worthwhile to review how the bishops of the Catholic Church at that time turned to "dialogue and collaboration" with Muslims "for the promotion of mutual understanding and for the preservation and fostering of social justice, moral welfare, and peace and freedom, for all humankind." What initiatives and approaches did this commitment take in the decades subsequent to the council and how has the involvement of Catholics changed Christian-Muslim relations? Among the various initiatives is the commitment of Jesuits at their General Congregation 34 in 1995. What are the outcomes of dialogue, and how especially has the dialogue with Muslims influenced the Catholic theological tradition? What is the present state of this dialogue and the prospects for the future?

Borelli is the special assistant for interreligious initiatives to President John J. DeGioia of Georgetown University. He works on several university projects related to Catholic identity and the university’s Jesuit heritage and teaches courses on dialogue and comparative theology. In addition, Borelli serves as national coordinator for interreligious dialogue for the U. S. Jesuit Conference.

Prior to assuming his position at Georgetown University in 2004, Borelli served 16 years (1987-2003) as associate director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, and, as its Interim Director, for one year (2001-2002). During those years, he developed three ongoing dialogues with Muslims and staffed other interreligious and ecumenical dialogues projects, including Orthodox-Catholic relations and the Anglican-Catholic dialogue. He was a consultor to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for 17 years.

Borelli taught full time at Fordham University (Ph.D., 1976, history of religions and theology) during his final year of graduate studies and for 11 years at the College of Mount St. Vincent (New York City).  While in New York, he held a staff position with the New York Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission and co-founded the Catholic-Muslim Dialogue of New York. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Philosophy from St. Louis University in 1968, and served in the U. S. Army in Vietnam in 1970. He has published over 200 articles and edited a collection of papers, “A Common Word and the Future of Christian-Muslim Relations” (Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, 2009). He also co-authored, “Interfaith Dialogue: A Catholic View,” with Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald (SPCK/Orbis Books, 2006).

The Suarez Lecture is one of four annual lectures sponsored by Spring Hill College.  It began in 1965 and is named after the famous 16th century Jesuit, Francisco Suarez, and addresses timely issues of philosophical and theological interest.

The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the Theology Department at (251) 380-4458 or theology@shc.edu.