Topic of the conference:
Intercultural dialogue in Europe
Contribution of catholic Religious Education in schools
Devoting each year to a particularly important topic has become a tradition in the European Union. In 2008, the leading topic was intercultural dialogue. The awareness of the value of multiculturalism of Europe has been growing gradually, especially among young people. In spite of numerous activities that bear good fruits, the issue of dialogue among cultures remains vital, since the road to complete understanding, recognition, and respect for other cultures, denominations, and religions in Europe is still very long.
Published in 2007, the White Book concerning intercultural dialogue defines the issue as open and full of respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups of various ethnic origin, cultures, religions, languages, and heritage. Intercultural dialogue requires freedom and ability to express one’s opinions, as well as willingness and ability to listen to other people’s opinions and views. The purpose of intercultural dialogue is the development of a deeper understanding of different views and practices, increase in participation, and freedom of making life choices, equality and respect for human dignity, evoking creative processes, and promoting abilities of individuals and societies aiming at growth and transformation through dialogue and respect for others.
Education for intercultural dialogue is understood in this way, as well as looking for new ways and modes of starting it seems to be one of the most vital pastoral tasks for the Church. „The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers. This should spur religions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity”. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 2015, 201)
It can be assumed that religious education in schools is an exceptional chance to introduce the postulated dialogue. Concern for respecting its social, cultural, religious, and legal conditions in specific European countries proves to be a real challenge. We invite persons responsible for or interested in shaping this area of the Ministry of the Church to participate in the XX European Forum for Religious Education in Schools.