Interreligious relations and solidarity: Contextualizing the vision of Francis Cardinal Arinze for religious education in Nigeria

Matthew C Ugwoji, Fordham University


This dissertation examines the pursuit of inter-religious relations and solidarity from the perspective of Francis Cardinal Arinze (1984-2002), the first of President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious relations and dialogue in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Arinze called for inter-religious relations and solidarity as a way for the modern Christian to be in tune with the realities of growing secular and pluralistic cultures and a diversity of religious traditions. The study is concerned that the increasing interdependence of peoples should serve as an impetus for reflection on theology of religions and religious education. Inter-religious dialogue is a way of responding in faith by worshipping, loving, and serving God, and by responsible and loving action toward other people, society, and the whole of creation. Inter-religious dialogue demands that religions nurture faith, trust, dialogue, communication, reconciliation, and mutual understanding. A genuine understanding and appropriation of such a principle could reduce racism and social injustice, as well as promote mutual enrichment and respect among the different religions in a pluralistic society. This study humanistic study of the philosophy and practice of solidarity of religions towards mutual co-existence employs historical methodology through documentary analysis. It is conducted from the perspective of a historical figure, his literature, and personal interviews. Additionally, it is complemented by philosophical inquiry that involves critical reflection which for right decision-making and action. The necessity to build Nigeria as a multi-religious nation impels this study to propose the need for inter-religious education to foster genuine understanding among religions. Authentic religious identity and dialogue are integrally interdependent and they move individuals from unawareness to understanding, from exclusion to reciprocity, and from religious violence to cooperation and solidarity. The study concludes that inter-religious solidarity would foster the creation of "a new world order" where there is more justice to all people in Nigeria.

Subject Area

Religion|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Ugwoji, Matthew C, "Interreligious relations and solidarity: Contextualizing the vision of Francis Cardinal Arinze for religious education in Nigeria" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3342755.