Report of the Secretary-General of DIM-MID
to the Board of Directors of AIM
28th October 2021
Fr William Skudlarek
The continuing restrictions on travel and gatherings to halt the spread of COVID-19 severely limited DIM-MID’s activities again in 2021, those sponsored by the secretariat as well as activities at the level of regional commissions. An on-going dialogue with Shi’a Muslims, which was postponed in 2020 and was supposed to take place in Vienna (Schottenstift) earlier this month, again had to be put off. We now hope to meet in May 2022.
The annual meeting of the European Commissions of DIM-MID was scheduled to take place at Ligugé in September of this year but was again put on hold. It would have included a day with the staff of the new International Center of the World Community of Christian Meditation at Bonnevaux to discuss how DIM-MID and WCCM might collaborate in programs at the Center.
Also delayed was the General Chapter of the Ottilien Congregation, which would have included a session on monastic interreligious dialogue.
The organizers of the National [USA] Workshop on Christian Unity invited me to be “theologian in residence” and keynote speaker for their virtual conference that was held in April. I gave three talks on the place of hospitality (philoxenia, love of the stranger) in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
As associate editor of DIM-MID’s online journal, Dilatato Corde, I continue to devote a good bit of time and effort to translating and editing materials submitted for publication, as well as to correspondence with the authors and external reviewers of scholarly articles. In addition to personal reflections and reports on the interreligious activities of individuals and of the regional commissions of DIM-MID, Dilatato Corde continues to publish significant scholarly works on interreligious dialogue at the level of spiritual experience and practice. In the two issues of Volume 11 (2021), for example, you will find “From Deus in audiutorium to Maranatha: Colonialism and Reform in John Main’s Hindu Encounter” by Nicholas Scrimenti and two studies by Fabrice Blée, “Le dialogue chrétien-bouddhiste : Dimension prophétique du dialogue interreligieux monastique” and “L’expérience de Dieu dans l’œuvre de Panikkar : Éléments épistémologiques pour une approche contemporaine du divin.”
I gave a presentation on the “convivial” dimensions of monastic interreligious dialogue on a webinar organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for the North and South American members and consultors of the PCID. The webinar was held on October 19 and was part of the Council’s preparation for next year’s General Assembly, which will be devoted to conviviality and dialogue.
I am hopeful that my successor as Secretary General of DIM-MID will be named later this year or early next year. I will complete my fifth three-year term on November 30, 2022, and while my health is good and I remain committed to promoting interreligious dialogue among monastics, I believe this is the right time for a younger Benedictine who is passionate and knowledgeable about interreligious dialogue to assume the leadership of this important work on behalf of the Confederation—a Benedictine, moreover, who is neither North American nor European.