DO711EE Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialog

An introduction to the historical context and theology of the ecumenical movement. References will be made to the teaching of the Magisterium, significant achievements in ecumenical dialogue, prospects for future achievements, and the individual participant’s contributions to ecumenism. Exposure to the rich variety of Christian ecclesial communities and traditions and world religions will be included.

Course Syllabus

Syllabus – DO711EE –Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue

Description: An introduction to the historical context and theology of the ecumenical movement. References will be made to the teaching of the Magisterium, significant achievements in ecumenical dialogue, prospects for future achievements and the individual participant’s contributions to ecumenism. Exposure to the rich variety of Christian ecclesial communities and traditions and world religions will be included. Objectives: The student will achieve a basic knowledge of the following:

  1. History of the modern ecumenical movement and interreligious dialogue, its theological foundation in Scripture and the documents of the Church.
  2. Principles, norms and methods of ecumenical theology including types of dialogue and the status of non-Christian religions.
  3. Fruits of the ecumenical and interreligious dialogues including studies in doctrine and practices; and the possibilities for cooperation on the pastoral level.
  4. Practices that shape contemporary ecumenical and interreligious relations including dialogue, hospitality, cooperation, spiritual ecumenism, personal engagement, friendship and prayer for Christian Unity.

Week 1 - Module 1

  1. Lecture: Introduction
  2. Reading Assignment: Unitatis Redintegratio: The Decree on Ecumenism at


  1. Review Media Presentation:


  1. Initial Post: In 300-400 words, define Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, reflect on the elements of both, how they are similar and how they differ. Make note of the guidance given to the Church for both ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. Be sure to refer to the documents.


Week 2 - Module 2

  1. Lecture: Ecumenism
  2. Reading Assignment: Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: Lasting Significance and Urgency of Unitatis Redintegratio by Cardinal Kasper. 


  1. Review Media Presentation: Pope Francis explains ecumenism. Read “The Church is Ecumenical” by Michael O’Brien.


  1. Forum Post: In 300-400 words, define Ecumenism and Ecumenical Movement, reflect on the chief motivations for the Church's involvement with Ecumenism and the ways in which it can be practiced by individual Christians and Christian communities. Be sure to cite Scripture and Church documents.


Week 3 – Module 3


  1. Lecture: Understanding the Catholic Church in light of ecumenical relations with Churches and ecclesial communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church.


  1. Read the Reflection of Cardinal Walter Kasper & Ecumenism is Now an Urgent Task by Pope St. John Paul II.


  1. Read Ecumenism Now and Urgent Task for the Catholic Church by Pope St. John Paul.


  1. Watch video with Cardinal Kasper at Candler School of Theology.


  1. Forum Post: In 300-400 words, reflect on the spirit of ecumenism, what exactly animates the Catholic ecumenical effort? Also, what threatens to impede, or block ecumenical efforts from progressing, or being effective? Use the documents, and other sources to support your observations. Respond to two of your colleagues.


Week 4 – Module 4

  1. Lecture: The Catholic Church in relation to non-Christian religions.
  2. Read Nostra Aetate; The Declaration of the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.
  3. Watch Bishop Madden on Interreligious Dialogue.
  4. Read Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Church and non-Christians.
  5. Forum Post: In 300-400 words, explain the meaning of religion, its components, and its significance for individuals and peoples.

Week 5 – Module 5

  1. Lecture 5 – “Other Churches and Ecclesial Communities”.
  2. Read: Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.
  3. Read Called to be the One Church at
  4. Watch: Pope Francis on “How to Unite the Church” at
  5. Forum Post: In 300-400 words explain the notion of Church Unity as expressed by the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. Respond to two of your colleagues.

Week 6 – Module 6

  1. Lecture 6 – Ecumenism and Eastern Christianity.
  2. Read Ecclesia de EucharistiaCHAPTER FOUR, 34-62.
  3. Read Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, IV, 92-162.
  4. Watch Metropolitan Kallistos Ware on Catholic-Orthodox Unity at
  5. Forum Post: in 300-400 words summarize the speech of Bishop Ware and reflect on the condition of disunity between Orthodox and Catholic Christians, and the Churches of the East and West. Respond to one of your colleagues.

Week 7 – Module 7

  1. Lecture 7 – Two Lungs: The Wind of the Spirit in the East and West.
  2. Read Ut Unum Sint.
  3. Read “Steps towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future” at
  4. Forum Post: In 300-400 words outline difficulties and the principle obstacle to unity between the East and West. Respond to at least one of your colleagues.

Week 8 – Module 8

  1. Lecture 8 – Ecumenism and the Churches of the Reformation.
  2. Read: Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification at
  3. Review:
  4. Watch video at
  5. Forum Post: Restate the main points of the JDDJ, focus on the topics agreed upon, and the differences that remain. Include how those differences might be approached.

Week 9 – Module 9

  1. Lecture 9 – Ecumenism and the Ecclesial Communities (Anabaptist, Charismatic, Evangelical, Fundamental, Pentecostal).
  2. Read “Christian Unity Summit Brings Together Leaders From Several Ecumenical Organizations” at
  3. At the following articles from the left margin menu: Methodist, Evangelical, Southern Baptist and Christian Churches Uniting.
  4. Read “Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Charismatics: A Difficult Relationship or Promising Convergence?” at
  5. Forum Post: Explain the similarities and differences in beliefs of Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Charismatics that you have learned. What do these ecclesial movements have in common with the Catholic Church? Respond to at least two of your colleagues.

Week 10 – Module 10

  1. Lecture 10 – Interreligious Dialogue
  2. Watch The five major world religions at
  3. Read Interreligious at
  4. Watch Pope’s General Audience dedicated to Interreligious Dialogue at
  5. Forum Post: Choose one of the five world religions, summarize its beliefs, without judging, comparing, or critiquing it. Simply reiterate its beliefs. You might add your experience with someone who was a follower of that religion. Respond to at least three of your colleagues.

Week 11 – Module 11

  1. Lecture 11 – Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue: Walking, accompanying, friendship, hospitality and humility.
  2. Watch the documentary of the Centro Pro Unione, Rome (Greyfriars) at the associated videos.
  3. Read Pope Francis: Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together at
  4. Write a 1000 -1500 word essay summarizing the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding Ecumenism and Interreligious dialogue. Make distinctions between local, personal dialogue, cooperative efforts between Christians and members of non-Christian religions, and official dialogues and documents and comment on a proposed role for Deacons in their parishes and communities. Due week 12.


Week 12 – Module 12

  1. Final Post: Choose one Church, Ecclesial Community, or World Religion and reflect on an experience you had with an individual, family, or community that was adherent to that faith. Note any challenges, difficulties, misunderstandings, surprises, agreements, or spiritual benefits of that relationship. Respond to at least one of your colleagues.
  2. Submit Final Essay


At the conclusion of the course, the student will have the ability to:

  1. Distinguish that which Christians hold in common from points of disagreement; and to identify the opportunities and limitations manifest in the ecumenical movement.
  2. Analyze the theological reasoning which shapes the discussions which are at the core of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogues and practices of hospitality.
  3. Promote, when appropriate, co-operation through prayer, social justice initiatives, and to witness to the Catholic Church’s commitment of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue and understanding.
  4. Teach and explain the place of ecumenical and interreligious relations in the life of faith and the Church today.


Format: Class format is a combination of published lecture, videos, reflections and online group discussion via weekly posts and responses. Discussions will focus on the appointed article for class and various project assignments. Each student is to prepare for the discussion by careful reading of the article, media, formulating questions, comments, and to engage in the class conversation of the assigned material.

All papers must be formatted using the JDI standard which is A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian (Author),ISBN-13: 978-0226816388 ISBN-10: 0226816389. This guide is available in paperback and eBook.


Grading: Posts – 50% of grade. Essay - 25% and Final Post 25%. Note that 1 pt. will be lost for each and every grammatical error that tends to distort a clear understanding or the writing. All submissions must be made on time, 5 points will be deducted for each 24 hour period the assignment is past-due, up to 5 days, after which a zero “0” will be assigned.