Apr 4 2024

Interfaith Insights 3

Interfaith Insights 3 – Zen Buddhism Welcome to our third “Interfaith Insights” conversation. In this interview Anthony MacIsaac learns more about Zen Buddhism from long time friend, theoretical physicist, and Bruce Lee admirer, Neil Warrack, a Zen Buddhist living in Glasgow. Anthony: As I understand it, you are Zen Buddhist. Perhaps you could give me […]

Conference 1

Feb 19 2024

Human Fraternity Conference in Glasgow

Dr Duncan MacLaren Over 100 people from the Shia and Catholic communities with other invited guests attended this event organised by the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue and the Ahl Al-Beit Society- Scotland in Glasgow’s City Chambers on 7th February. The purpose of the conference was to celebrate Human Fraternity for World Peace […]

Jan 8 2024

Interfaith Insights 2

Welcome to our second “Interfaith Insights” conversation. Here Anthony MacIsaac is in conversation with fellow Yazidi students… The Yazidis are an ethno-religious group found in Kurdistan (northern Iraq), Armenia, Georgia, and Iran. Their religion is founded upon ancient beliefs and practices, and was informed by the medieval Sufis, especially by one of their major religious […]

Oct 11 2023

Interfaith Learnings – Sr Isabel Smyth SND

Interfaith Learnings – Sr Isabel Smyth SND I have been invited to take part in the monthly faith to faith dialogue organised by Interfaith Glasgow and St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art. The dialogue will focus on how positive and fruitful interfaith dialogue can enrich one’s own faith and spiritual journey. It’s one […]

Oct 11 2023

Interfaith Reception 2023

Friends from Other Faiths Flock to the Eyre Hall in the Curia of the Archdiocese of Glasgow by Duncan McLaren, Member of the Bishops’ Committee Members of the Scottish Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue were delighted with the turnout of faith leaders on 28th September. This was our first Interfaith Reception since the Covid pandemic […]

Oct 2 2023

European Bishops Interreligious Dialogue Conference

The headquarters of the Bishops Conference of France in Paris was the venue for the European Bishops Interreligious Dialogue Conference from 13th to 15th September 2023. This section of the CCEE is headed by Bishop Brendan Leahy and the conference brought together representatives from all over Europe to focus mainly on relationships between Catholicism and […]

Sep 30 2023

Interfaith Insights 1

Welcome to our first “Interfaith Insights” conversation. Over the coming weeks Anthony MacIsaac will have conversations with fellow students of different faiths. Catholic Theology Student Anthony MacIsaac interviews fellow students of other faiths. Interview 1 Abigaëlle Chalom – Jewish student Anthony: Hello Abigaelle, thanks for agreeing to discuss some elements of your faith with me. […]

Aug 9 2023

Thai Buddhists reaffirm friendship and fraternity with Catholic Church

On 15th June 2023 a Buddhist Delegation from Thailand met with representatives of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue in the Vatican. Having been due to meet with the Pope who was recovering from surgery, the delegation left him a letter of prayers and well-wishes. One minute of silent reflection “to really bring everyone here and […]

Aug 9 2023

Dicastery Collaborators Share Their Stories on Video

From the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue A terrifying encounter that turns into a moment of human understanding; experiencing a Buddhist temple for the first time; a conversation about the meaning of fasting with a Muslim woman; a collaboration to foster peace in an area fraught with religious conflict… These are some of the interreligious experiences […]

May 22 2023

Demonstration Passover Seder

By Joseph Sikora, Secretary for Interreligious Dialogue In April, Duncan MacLaren and myself attended the demonstration Passover Seder at the Glasgow Reform Synagogue in Newton Mearns. Lead by Rabbi Pete Tobias, we were, along with a number of other guests representing various faith traditions and local civic society, taken through the rich symbolism and meaning […]

May 18 2023

Scottish faith leaders speak out against assisted suicide

On Thursday 18th May Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, joined the Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Church of Scotland and Imam Shaykh Hamza Khandwalla, Imam of Dundee Central Mosque, at the Scottish Parliament to sign a statement urging MSPs to vote down a proposal […]

May 8 2023

CFRIRR Report May 2023

Churches Forum for Interreligious Relations Recently I represented the Committee at the first in person residential conference of the Churches Forum for Interreligious Relations, since the COVID pandemic. Held in the tranquil setting of the Quaker Woodbrooke Centre, Birmingham, this was a chance for me to meet and establish links with people from all over […]

Mar 14 2023

International Human Fraternity Day

A report on our Conference marking International Human Fraternity Day, by Joseph Sikora In February we marked International Human Fraternity Day, celebrating the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam from Al-Azhar University, Ahmed el-Tayeb in 2019.   The document led to the […]

Jan 18 2023

An Extraordinary Life

In The Scottish Catholic this month, our outgoing Bishops’ Committee Secretary Sr Isabel featured in the ‘Ordinary Catholics – Extraordinary Lives” section. We’re delighted to reproduce the article here. Ordinary Catholics  –  EXTRAORDINARY LIVES   Sr Isabel Smyth is a Sister of Notre Dame who has led the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue […]

Dec 15 2022

Advent Reflection

A guest blog by Jenny Ramsden For Christians, it is the season of Advent – a period of expectation and reflective preparation in which churches make themselves ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which many Christians would call the ‘incarnation’. The incarnation is the Christian belief that God took human form by becoming Jesus […]

Nov 6 2022

Language in Dialogue

by Anthony MacIsaac One issue that often emerges during inter-faith dialogue is that of language. Without considering the fact that faiths often use different languages in their liturgies and scripture, it is also true that simple definitions and religious vocabulary appear to overlap between the different faiths but may have very different meanings within each […]

Oct 12 2022

Remembering Stella Reekie

An afternoon of remembering, held at St Mungo Museum, 2 October 2022, by Sr Isabel Smyth SND There was a real sense of celebration last Sunday, 2nd October, when the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art held its first interfaith event since the closure of the museum during the Covid pandemic. Glasgow City […]

Oct 2 2022

What if?

by Sr Isabel Smyth SND There are some events in life that are of such significance that we can’t help asking ‘what if that had not happened?’ How differently would things have turned out. Such an event was a 20-minute meeting that a Jewish historian, Jules Isaac, had with Pope John XXIII in June 1959 that changed […]

Sep 16 2022

Can inter-religious encounters bring peace?

3 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Participants in the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches were able to take part in a variety of Encounters on the weekend, including a visit to the Gardens of Religion project in Karlsruhe, Germany, a project promoting interreligious cooperation and learning. The 11th Assembly of the World Council […]

Sep 1 2022

Interfaith Parish Ministry

By Fr Gerard Mitchell SJ, St Aloysius Parish, Glasgow Jesus in the gospel challenges his host and his friends to extend their horizons and to offer hospitality to people who are not part of their cosy and select little social scene.  He challenges them to move out beyond the familiar, to what is strange and […]

Jul 14 2022

Spiritual lessons from Hajj

Beautiful spiritual lessons from Hajj: The journey of a lifetime! Joseph Victor Edwin SJ Jul 11th, 2022 (Updated Jul 12th, 2022) Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters: Eid Mubarak! You must be wondering what am I saying to you. I am wishing you a happy feast. I am wishing you a happy feast of sacrifice. Muslims […]

May 24 2022

Helpful Conversations

by Sr Isabel Smyth, SND Ever since the Second Vatican Council Catholic Bishops have met regularly to discuss issues of common concern. These meetings are called Synods and next year there is to be one on the very notion of synodality, on how to make the Church more inclusive and responsive to the needs of […]

May 13 2022

Dialogue on Mary the Mother of Jesus in the Catholic and Muslim traditions

by Sr Isabel Smyth SND I’ve taken part in some interesting interfaith dialogues this last weekend. The first dialogue which didn’t quite turn out to be a dialogue was focussed on Mary the mother of Jesus from both a Catholic and a Shia Muslim perspective. Why it wasn’t quite a dialogue was that the input […]

Mar 9 2022


By Anthony MacIsaac  Austerity is a marker of most religious life in some fashion. Sometimes it is part and parcel of penance, making up for one’s faults or sins. Sometimes it simply delineates pilgrimage, a journey towards God, a turning towards God. Perhaps it is best seen in the light of commitment in faith, a […]

Mar 2 2022

Saving St Mungo’s Museum

by Sr Isabel Smyth SND On 17th February Glasgow City Council announced its budget for the forthcoming year and plans for post-covid recovery. Included in that budget is the statement “ As well as confirming the funding to keep all local libraries open, it will also allocate more than £1 million to reopen community centres […]

Feb 9 2022

On the 2nd Anniversary

A Guest Blog by Devin Watkins, Vatican News Agency Pope Francis: ‘Embrace human fraternity to stop endless destruction’ Pope Francis released a video message to mark the 2nd International Day of Human Fraternity, and urges all people to trod the difficult path of fraternity in order to overcome the prejudices and conflicts that divide humanity. […]

Jan 12 2022

Golden Threads

GOLDEN THREADS REAWAKENED Weaving a Legacy A group of amateur tapestry weavers in Edinburgh have together created this tapestry  Background The tapestry uses golden threads collected by Hedwig Philip which had not seen the light of day for 70 years. Hedwig was a German Jew. She and her husband narrowly avoided the Holocaust. They left […]

Dec 17 2021

Jesus the Jew

By Sr Isabel Smyth This is the season of Advent, the season when Christians prepare for Christmas and reflect on the significance of Jesus for themselves and the world. During these four weeks Christians will be singing advent carols such as ‘O come, O come Emmanuel’ with lyrics that talk of “captive Israel, that mourns […]

Nov 13 2021

Cop 26

By Sr Isabel Smyth SND COP 26 has started, and thousands of people have landed on Glasgow. Today is the day for world leaders and significant individuals to address the conference. Listening to them they all seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Environmentalists and young people from developing countries face the conference […]

Oct 20 2021

Have you heard of Faith Plans for People and Planet?

A blog on Faith-based investing, by Yolanda Matro, Committee Member Recently I was invited to attend a Zoom meeting by a friend actively involved in Faith Invest.  Their latest project, in conjunction with the World Wide Fund for Nature, is the Faith Plans for People and Planet. Faith Invest’s main role will be to encourage […]

Sep 24 2021

Common Ground in Dialogue

A Blog Post by Sr Isabel Smyth, Secretary of the Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue Last week I was introduced to the work of Dr Peter Admirand who is the Director of the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Dublin City University. Dr Admirand was the keynote speaker at a colloquium on ‘Interreligious Dialogue in the […]

Sep 14 2021

Rosh Hashanah: In the Presence of the King

Guest Blog by Rabba Dr. Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts in the evening of 6 September this year, and lasts till the evening of 8 September. It ushers in the Ten ‘Days of Awe’, which continue until the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and constitute the high point […]

Aug 19 2021

The Father in Abrahamic Religions

By Anthony MacIsaac Inter-religious dialogue has often touched upon the topic of Motherhood, and there has been a wealth of reflection on this, even unto the apparently radical idea of God as Mother. Not so often, it would seem, has Fatherhood been discussed in this way. In this “Year of St. Joseph” – inaugurated by […]

Aug 2 2021

Lockdown and Interfaith Dialogue

By Bishop Brian McGee – Published originally in ‘The Coracle‘. The pandemic has proved to be a difficult experience for everyone. The lockdown, whose purpose was to save life, inevitably also limited our experience of life. As people of Faith we too felt this keenly. For long stretches praying communally was impossible and when public […]

Jun 2 2021

A Holy Land?

By Sr Isabel Smyth SND, Secretary of the Bishops’ Committee For Interfaith Relations Since my last blog two weeks ago a war has raged in Israel-Palestine. It’s not the only part of the world that’s at war but it is a conflict which affects interfaith relations here in Scotland in a way that no other […]

May 11 2021

 The St Mungo Museum

by Sr Isabel Smyth SND The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art is a very special place. It’s named after Glasgow’s patron saint who brought the Christian faith to Scotland in the 6th century and designed in the style of the medieval Bishops’ Castle on which site it’s built.  When it was opened […]

Apr 19 2021

A Letter for Ramadan

A Guest Blog from Fr Joseph Victor Edwin SJ Dear Muslim sisters and brothers, Assalam Aleikum! In the month of April this year we will celebrate the advent of the month of Ramadan. I consciously use the word ‘celebrate’, because I have personally experienced and seen Muslim friends-sisters and brothers-really looking forward to the fasting […]

Fr Hans Küng RIP

Vale, Fr Hans Küng:  Priest, Theologian, Promoter of Inter-religious Dialogue and Prophet  by Dr Duncan MacLaren The Swiss theologian, Fr Hans Küng, author of On Being a Christian, a magisterial attempt to ‘sell’ Christianity to the modern world and Infallible?, where he cast doubt on papal infallibility just before the reign of Saint John Paul II, […]

ICCJ President’s Greetings for Pesach and Easter

Guest Blog by Bo Sandahl, ICCJ President | 27.03.2021 The pandemic cannot change facts and life will always find new ways. We will celebrate once more. We will celebrate Pesach and Easter under circumstances to which we are not accustomed. Life goes on and what seemed as abnormal has become ”the new normal.” It is […]

Mar 9 2021

Peace and Hope in Iraq

A guest post, reproducing an article from the website of the Jesuits in Rome FATHER CASSAR: THE POPE HAS SOWN PEACE AND HOPE IN IRAQ By Iacopo Scaramuzzi The Pope “sowed seeds of hope and peace”: Father Joseph Cassar SJ, the Jesuit who leads Jesuit Refugee Service in Iraq (JRS), comments warmly on Francis’ visit […]

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