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Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Celebrating the Decree on Ecumenism
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Vatican IIThe Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was the major event in the Catholic Church in the twentieth century, with great and lasting implications within the Catholic Church and beyond. The Council's sixteen documents promoted renewal in the Church's life and work, while cultivating and promoting the Catholic Church's mission in today's world. It also brought insights fostering new relationships with other churches and communions, with Judaism and with other world religions.

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II, this conference organized by the Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University explores the impact of one of these documents, Unitatis redintegratio The Decree on Ecumenism, which confirmed the commitment of the Catholic Church to the modern ecumenical movement which has been in progress for a century since the World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh, Scotland, 1910. Especially after the promulgation of the Decree an Ecumenism, the Catholic Church, while fostering ecumenical renewal within itself, began to engage in contacts and dialogues with other churches and communions and with the World Council of Churches, which continue to produce many important results fostering unity and reconciliation of long divided Christians.

Conference Program

November 21, 2013
2-5 p.m.
Chancellor's Suite, Bishop John Dougherty Student Center
Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey

Presented by
The Department of Catholic Studies, Seton Hall University, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies.
In cooperation with the Commission of Christian Unity, Archdiocese of Newark


2 p.m.
Opening Remarks:
Msgr. Robert F. Coleman, J.C.D., Associate Vice Provost and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology

Welcome address:

Ines Angeli Murzaku Ph.D., Chair Department of Catholic Studies and Professor of Religion

Presentation of the Participants
Msgr. John A. Radano, Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology

Keynote Address:

"The Impact of the Decree on Ecumenism on the life of the Catholic Church"
Rev. Dr. John Crossin, OSFS Executive Director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3-4 p.m. Ecumenical Panel:
"Observations of Ecumenical Partners on relationships and dialogue of their church or communion with the Roman Catholic Church since the promulgation of the Decree on Ecumenism"

A Reformed Perspective: The Rev. Dr. Allan Janssen, Affiliate Professor of Theological Studies, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

An Orthodox Perspective: Dr. Paul Meyendorff, The Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

A Lutheran Perspective: Dr. William G. Rusch, Professor (Adjunct) of Lutheran Studies, Yale Divinity School
4-5 p.m. Open Discussion
5 p.m Closing Remarks:
Msgr. John Radano, Adjunct Professor of Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology 


John Crossin, OSFS, (Ph.D, The Catholic University of America), before being appointed Executive Director of the SEIA, served as Executive Director of the Washington Theological Consortium, (1998-2011), President of DeSales School of Theology (1987-97), and has taught at Catholic University of America, Wesley Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary, Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary, DeSales School of Theology, and served as President of the North American Academy of Ecumenists. His many publications, books and articles, have often explored questions of morality and spirituality in relationship to ecumenism, as did the book Love For the Poor: God's Love for the Poor and the Church's Witness to it, co-authored with others for the National Council of Churches of Christ, 2005.  

Allan Janssen, (Ph.D. The Free University of Amsterdam) of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Senior Pastor of Community Church of Glen Rock, is General Synod Professor in the Reformed Church. He has served as a pastor of local congregations for forty years. He is the author of a number of books including Kingdom, Office and Church as well as many articles and contributions to essay collections. He has served as the ecumenical officer for the Synod of Albany of the Reformed Church and on the Theological Committee of the Churches in Full Communion. He is currently a member of the new phase of the National Reformed-Catholic Dialogue in the USA.  

Paul Meyendorff (PhD., University of Notre Dame), of St. Vladimir's Seminary, is also a member of the Office of Interchurch Relations and Ecumenical Witness of the Orthodox Church in America. His wide ecumenical experience includes serving on the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation (2003-present), the Faith and Order Commissions of both the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, on the Worship Committee of the 8th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Harare, Zimbabwe, 1998. He has also taught at Yale Divinity School, the University of Notre Dame, and Drew University. His extensive writings, books and articles, focus on his chosen field of liturgy, e.g. The Service of the Anointing of the Sick (2009), as well as ecumenism.  

William G. Rusch, (D. Phil, Oxford University), a Lutheran pastor, is Professor (Adjunct) at Yale Divinity School and also Professor of Church history at New York Theological Seminary. He has served as Ecumenical Officer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue in the USA, and on the Commissions on Faith and Order of both the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, serving also as Director of the latter. He is a specialist on the concept of ecumenical reception. Author of many articles and books, He has edited The Pontificate of Benedict XVI: Its Premises and Promises (2009), and most recently edited The Witness of Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch (2013).  

About the Department of Catholic Studies

Established in 2012-- the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II -- the Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University, America's oldest diocesan university, fosters Seton Hall's Catholic identity and mission by exploring the relationship of Catholicism with all areas of culture and learning. Since its focus is the Church's encounter and dialogue with society or the Church in the world, Vatican II designated a special place for Catholic Studies as a discipline in academic life. As a result, Catholic Studies is a dialogue between Catholicism and culture that occurs in a special way at Catholic universities. While respecting other disciplines, Catholic Studies explores theology and philosophy in relation to culture, humankind and the world. This methodological approach opens up a place for all other disciplines; these enrich Catholic Studies and are enriched in return. Catholic Studies builds upon and develops the themes and questions addressed in the University Core Curriculum and is complementary to other disciplines. A bachelor's degree in Catholic Studies is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts degree — a major that enhances every other major.

For more information please contact:
Ines Murzaku
(973) 275-5845


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