Edited by Anthony O’Mahony, Wulstan Peterburs and Muhammad Ali Shomali


The aim of this unique study is to reflect on how the Catholic tradition and Shi‘a Islam bring their spiritual and theological resources to bear on some of the most critical contemporary issues. The dialogue between Catholicism and Shi‘a Islam is based on the conviction that the high regard in which both traditions hold prayer and contemplation forms a strong unifying element between the two traditions and is thus a suitable context for a consideration of both shared mutualities and differences, allowing Catholics and Shi‘a jointly to strengthen their response to contemporary challenges.

            The main theme of the book is the question of how a person’s spirituality should inform the way in which he lives his life, and how contemporary challenges to faith are best met. Consideration is given to the remembrance of God in our respective spiritual traditions, the challenges of living a life of faith today, and how Catholics and Shi‘a understand the eternal questions about life and death. Drawing on our joint monotheistic heritage further reflection is given to the Catholic and Shi‘a understandings of God’s presence and action in the world, including a discussion of differences arising over the Qur’anic principle of the Word of God and the Catholic belief in Christ’s sacramental presence among us. This context of God’s presence in the world is developed around Abraham, scared in both traditions, as a model of faith for both Catholics and Shi‘a, with particular reference to mankind’s free response to God’s offer of salvation. Turning to practical themes, the book also examines the ideal of faith in the family, the school and the university, as places where the challenge of modernity is sharply encountered.

            Overall, the book is an attempt to draw upon the deep reservoir of shared Catholic and Shi‘a spiritual resources, so as to engage with the world and to challenge our contemporary culture and society. Today we are witnessing a worldwide religious revival and a pressing question for religious traditions is how best to resource and channel this thirst for God. The book provides a rare opportunity for Catholic pastors and theologians to come together with Shi‘a scholars and religious leaders to consider the way ahead, to recognise the challenge, but also to challenge and to lead.



Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, President of the Pontifical council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Vatican City

Revd Dr Justo Lacunza-Balda MAfr, Director of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Rome

Revd John McDade SJ, Principal of Heythrop College , University of London

Rt Revd Timothy Wright OSB, Abbot of Ampleforth Abbey

Bro. Dr Wulstan Peterburs OSB, Master of Studies, Ampleforth Abbey

Anthony O’Mahony, Director of Research, Centre for Christianity and Inter-religious Dialogue, Heythrop College , University of London

Sr Dr Catherine Cowley RA, Heythrop College , University of London

Sr Dr Mary Mills SHCJ, Newman College , University of Birmingham

Revd Dr Michael Kirwan SJ, Heythrop College , University of London

Revd Ian Lathham LBJ


Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi, President of Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qum

Ayatollah Muhsin Araki, Director of Islamic Centre of England , London

Imam Dr Saeid Reza Ameli, Lecturer at Tehran University

Dr Mohammad Jafar Elmi, Principal of the Islamic College for Advanced Studies, London

Dr Mohammad Fanaee, Lecturer at Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qum

Mrs Mahnaz Heydarpoor, Lecturer at Jami‘at al-Zahra (the leading Islamic seminary for women), Qum

Mr Abbas Jaffer, the Principal of the Shi‘a Ithna-‘asheri Madrasa (1995 to 2000), London

Dr Reza Shah Kazemi, Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London

Dr Muhsin Javadi, Lecturer and Director of Centre for International Relations of the University of Qum

Mr Morteza Sanei and Mr Mohammad Soori, Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qum

Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali, Head of Dept. of Religious Studies at Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qum

Dr Mahmood Taghizadeh Davari, Head of Dept. of Sociology at Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute and the founding director of the Institute of Shi‘ite Studies, Qum


216 x 135 mm; approx. 360 pages, hardback;

ISBN 1 901764 37 0

Spring 2004


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