Francis & Francis: Encountering Muslims, Past & Present

Sep 8, 2021
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Jason Welle, OFMPontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies

Free and open to the publicThis event is part of a webinar series, "Catholics & Muslims: History, Theology, Encounters," presented by the Lumen Christi Institute and the American Cusanus Society.

This session will consider two Christian-Muslim encounters: the first between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik in 1219 in Egypt during the Crusades, and the second between Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi eight centuries later, on Feb. 4, 2019, when they co-signed the historic “Document on Human Fraternity.” How have personal relationships between Christians and Muslims affected both the practice of interreligious dialogue and the Catholic theology of Islam?



Catholics & Muslims: History, Theology, Encounters 


The 1965 Vatican II document Nostra Aetate 3 encouraged Catholics and Muslims to “forget the past” and focus on a more positive future together, one based on dialogue and cooperation. Since then, Catholics at all levels, from popes to parishioners, have heeded this call. However, the complicated, centuries-long history of Christian-Muslim relations demands attention. Instead of “forgetting the past,” Catholics need to revisit this history, both on their own and with their Muslim partners. In this series, we will examine Nicholas of Cusa’s approach to the Qur’an; the history of Mary as a bridge or barrier in Christian relations with Muslims; and St. Francis and Pope Francis as models of fraternal encounter.  

This series is co-presented by the Lumen Christi Institute and the American Cusanus Society. This series is cosponsored by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, the Australian Catholic University, the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic StudiesSt. Paul's Catholic Center, the Nova Forum for Catholic Thought, the Saint Benedict Institute, the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, and both the Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies and the Encountering Islam Initiative at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota).

Dr. Jason Welle, OFM, holds a PhD in Theological and Religious Studies from Georgetown University and master’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Theological Union. He is currently Director of Studies at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) in Rome, where he teaches courses in Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian relations. He is co-editor of several recent works including a two-volume collection of papers from the Georgetown University conference Vatican II: Remembering the Future – Ecumenical, Interfaith and Secular Explorations of the Council’s Legacy and Promise (2018). Dr. Welle is a Franciscan friar of the Assumption B.V.M. Province in the United States.