Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land

A ceremonial panel focusing on Fifty Years on Vatican II “Nostra Aetate”
Declaration on Relation Between the Catholic Church with non-Christian Relations

A Panel Titled:

 “Fifty Years on Vatican II Declaration“Nostra Aetate” on the Catholic Church's Relation with Muslims

Friday 30 October 2015
Bethlehem Hotel - Bethlehem

Photo album

Al-Liqa’ Center held a ceremonial panel focusing on 50 years of “Nostra Aetate”, 1965-2015.

Tens of Palestinians and others secular and clerical, as well as academicians and community leaders, males and females, attended this gathering.

Dr. Geries S. Khoury welcomed attendees followed by a minute of silence for the souls of martyrs. H. B. Fu’ad Twal, the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, focused on “Nostra Aetate” stressing the importance of prayer in the area of dialogue; for it facilitates shared living. H. E. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, spoke of his experience as faithful and bishop adding that the Church contributed significantly in the area of dialogue. H. E. Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Majeed ‘Ata, Mufti of the Bethlehem Governorate, focused on Palestinian struggle and national unity between Muslims and Christians. He added that extremists will not thwart our march toward peace and reconciliation.


Following a short coffee break a panel was held on “The Relations of the Catholic Church with Muslims”.

Fr. Rif’at Bader, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan, stressed that the end of the apostolic mission of Pope John Paul II formed the culture of Dialogue in the Church; during Pope Benedict and Pope Francis’ periods further gains were made in the area of dialogue despite the present danger in the world and the Middle East, and quoted from Dr. Lana Mamkig: “We should not be satisfied with respecting diversity, but we have rather to live it with joy.”


Sheikh Maher ‘Assaf, Religious Guide in the Political and Nationalist Guidance in Bethlehem, added many Qur’anic verses calling for the respect and cooperation with the other, while Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway of Jerusalem University, focused on the need to negate violence and extremism in all religion as well as cooperation between followers of religions.

Dr. Geries S. Khoury, the last panelist, clarified the content of “Nostra Aetate” and stressed the need to forget negatives of the past and to work for positive aspects and mutual respect for our present and future.