Conference to examine "Dialogue of the Cultures"

Author: Arts and Letters


Pope Benedict XVI’s address at the University of Regensburg last year included a proposal which was largely overlooked in the often violent controversy which followed it.

“While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them,” the pope said. “We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons….Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.”

“Dialogue of the Cultures,” the eighth annual fall conference of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture, to be held Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, is intended to explore the pope’s proposal.

Archbishop Elias Chacour, of the diocese of Acco, Haifa, Nazareth and Galilee, who received an honorary degree from Notre Dame last May, will give the conference keynote address, “The Role of Religions in Promoting Dialogue,” at 7:30p.m. Nov. 29 (Thursday) in the auditorium of McKenna Hall.

George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of “Witness to Hope,” the authorized biography of Pope John Paul II, will speak on “Reading Regensburg Right,” at 7:30p.m. Nov. 30 (Friday) also in McKenna Hall.

The conference will conclude with a Mass at 5p.m. Dec. 1 (Saturday) in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, will preside.

The conference will include more than 100 other scholars of various faiths and disciplines who will discuss a wide range of subjects including the possibility of peace between Islamic nations and the democracies of the West; the dialogue among European, Asian, and African cultures; terrorism; the secularization of Europe; the Greek philosophical inheritance of Catholic theology; literature and the arts as vehicles of cultural dialogue; immigration; and cultural issues affecting the dignity of women.

Contact: Daniel McInerny, associate director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, at 574-631-3788 or or visit the conference Web site at

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on November 21, 2007.