(Source: Vatican News; translation/adaptation: Novena)

“Communion in Differences”. A new path of study in theology to form and encourage ecumenical dialogue between the different Christian confessions in the spirit of the “culture of encounter” so often desired by Pope Francis.

This is the objective of the new Master’s Degree in “Interconfessional Theology in an Ecumenical and Communal Perspective” offered by the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Lateran University (PUL), the ‘Pope’s University’.

The new two-year course will begin next academic year 2020-2021 and it was presented in a live webinar on the University’s Facebook page last Friday June 19.

To serve the spirit of the culture of encounter

The initiative was conceived by an academic committee coordinated by the theologian Giuseppe Lorizio and formed by representatives of the different Christian confessions. There are six modules that structure the new Master: historical-patristic, biblical-fundamental, doctrinal-dogmatic, ethical-moral, liturgical-cultural and missionary.

The purpose of the specialisation in Interconfessional Theology is, as Lorizio explained, “to educate a theological mindset [forma mentis] capable of giving a scientific and didactic dimension to a Christian theology that founds and constitutes the horizon of the different Churches”.

The subjects of the study program, the scholar added, will be taught by Catholic, Orthodox and Reformed professors from the different churches and will prioritise priests and lay people who, on returning to their communities of origin, can inspire and serve them in the spirit of the “culture of encounter” proposed by the teaching of Pope Francis.

Dialogue is also an educational criterion

The new initiative at the PUL responds to the invitation made by the Pope during his visit to the Lateran University on October 31, 2019.

On that occasion, the Holy Father insisted on the importance of dialogue understood not only as a way of living or living together, but as an educational criterion.

“Not only believers, but all those who are motivated by good will, know how necessary dialogue is in all its forms. Dialogue does not only serve to prevent and resolve conflicts, but it is a way of bringing to light the values and virtues that God has written in the heart of every man and woman and that he has brought to light in the order of creation”, Pope Francis said too during his October 2019 visit to the Lateran University.

More on Novena on ecumenism:

Religious leaders unite in Florence in interfaith prayer for COVID-19 victims

“An important ecumenical sign”: movement to lift Luther excommunication gathering steam

Sweden’s Catholic, Lutheran Churches organise first ecumenical retreat “to respond to this time of crisis with depth”

Francis reaffirms Catholic Church’s “irrevocable” commitment to cause of Christian unity


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.