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The Final Declaration of the International Congress "Disclosing the Council"


“Disclosing the Council” was the title of an International Congress held in Munich December 6-8, 2015, fifty years after the end of the Second Vatican Council. More than two hundred theologians discused  the outcomes of the Council and its implications for Catholic theology and the Roman Catholic Church in the twenty-first century. The Congress issued a final declaration that expressed the commitment of the participants to explore several important topics in the post-conciliar Catholic Church. This is not a statement of the German Catholic Bishops Conference, though several bishops and scholars who consult with the Conference participated. Hence it is presented in this section of Dialogika. Excerpted below under "Fair Use" copyright provisions are the sections of the official English translation of the Congress' Final Declaration that pertain to interreligious relations (Crossroad, 2017). "Council" refers to the Second Vatican Council. "Congress" refers to the Munich international congress, "Disclosing the Council." The published full text of the "Final Declaration" is available HERE, edited by Christoph Böttigheimer and René Dausner. 


6. The Church and Judaism
The Council made groundbreaking basic statements on the relationship between the church and Judaism. The congress fully affirms the directives and the findings of earlier Christian–Jewish conversations. In view of the guilt arising from history in church and theology, this remains a permanent commitment. We are committed to respecting this obligation in all theological disciplines and to receiving it more deeply. When translating and interpreting biblical and liturgical texts, we are committed to bearing in mind the Jewish context and to avoiding all forms of anti-Judaism. In society, theology speaks out against any kind of anti-Semitism and xenophobia. In the indispensable dialogue between Christianity and Islam, theology advocates maintaining the unique relationship between Jews and Christians as the basis of the Christian–Muslim dialogue.

7. The Claim of Revelation and the Plurality of Religions
The Council teaches the theological understanding of revelation as the self-mediation of God. For the relevant texts, however, a profound clarification of the philosophical implications is still lacking, on which the connection to secular discourses can be ensured. In addition, an adequate reading of these texts needs to take into consideration the highly differentiated reception processes on the international level.

We are committed to exploring interreligious differences in the concept of revelation and to deepening the religious and traditional concepts. This will lead to a fundamental redefinition of dogmatics and fundamental theology. The relationship between revelation and religions has to be widened to include the dimension of respect for humanity with the question of the religious existence of self at its center.

8. Interreligious Dialogue and Mission
The Council values non-Christian religions and pleads for interreligious dialogue. How this can succeed on equal terms has not been fully discussed in postconciliar theology. The congress sees this as an important theological task for the future. Moreover, it opposes any kind of fundamentalism and religious self-isolation.

We are committed to practicing and promoting unbiased and discursive relations with other religions. Although we appreciate the achievements of missionaries in preaching and in the social and educational spheres, we must consistently reappraise the history of guilt, which has been caused by mission and colonization in the past centuries. Mission belongs to the essence of the church; it is the reciprocal communication of the gospel and manifests itself in diaconia, the option for the poor, and dialogue with cultures and religions.

Congress Bureau: 

  • Cardinal Karl Lehmann (d. 2018), Honorary President 
  • Prof. Dr. Franz Xaver Bischof, Munich
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Böttigheimer, Eichstatt
  • Prof. Dr. René Dausner, Hildesheim
  • Prof. Dr. Marianne Heimbach-Steins, Münster
  • Prof. em. Dr. Peter Hünermann, Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Benedikt Kranemann, Erfurt
  • Prof. Dr. Johanna Rahner, Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Schmiedl (d. 2021), Vallendar
  • Prof. em. Dr. Josef Wohlmuth, Bonn