WASHINGTON - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) distributed the Document on Human Fraternity to over 200 bishops in America and committed to using the Document as a reference for future national interreligious dialogues.
“We arranged today for the document to be distributed to all of the Catholic bishops across the United States. We have encouraged them to use the document as a resource as they reach out to Muslims and friends from other faith traditions throughout our nation,” said the Bishop of Memphis David P. Talley, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, in an official letter to Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam. Bishop Talley said that the USCCB will include a reflection on human fraternity in each of its national interreligious dialogues going forward, adding: “I and my brother bishops were motivated [by the initiatives and efforts inspired by the Document] to recommit our energies towards placing fraternity at the heart of all we do.”
The USCCB’s decision came after Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam visited the USCCB headquarters in Washington D.C. in last September. The visit was followed by remarks the Secretary-General delivered at the USCCB annual assembly last month, in which he highlighted the historical significance and impact of the Document on Human Fraternity, signed in 2019 by His Holiness Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.
Judge Abdelsalam explained how the values enshrined in the Document on Human Fraternity - among them respect for diversity, equality, justice, and human rights - align with American values and the USCCB’s strategic priority to uphold the life and dignity of the human person. He highlighted the key initiatives undertaken to actualize the Document on Human Fraternity and promote interfaith dialogue.
“The Muslim Council of Elders looks forward to the Document gaining awareness and support in the United States following the USCCB’s actions. We stand ready to help actualize the Document in America and beyond,” said Judge Abdelsalam following the decision.
The bishops also expressed their gratitude for Judge Abdelsalam’s book that recounted the journey of the Document on Human Fraternity, The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path, calling it a “vital resource for Catholics and Muslims alike.”
As the central leadership body of the Catholic Church in America, the USCCB serves over 74 million Catholics, with 195 archdiocese and dioceses across the United States.