The Catholic University of America


The Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue is founded by the CUA's School of Theology and Religious Studies.  The dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies Rev. Mark Morozowich, SEOD.  The associate dean for Graduate Studies is Dr. Charles Jones.

The Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue is currently staffed by a professor of the Catholic University of America's School of Theology and Religious Studies who is assisted by a graduate student.  They are advised by a small board of experts in the field of interreligious dialogue.


Dr. Wilhelmus Valkenberg

Pim (Wilhelmus G.B.M.) Valkenberg was born in the Netherlands where he studied religious studies, theology, and pastoral studies.  After the public defence of his dissertation on Thomas Aquinas and the use of Scripture in his theology, he worked for twenty years at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he studied Arabic and Islam as well. Next to his work on interreligious dialogue at the newly established Department of Religious Studies of this university, he organized a number of dialogues between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Netherlands. These experiences formed the basis for his book Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership (Amsterdam / New York: Editions Rodopi, 2006). Between 2006 and 2011 Dr. Valkenberg worked as associate professor of theology at Loyola University Maryland with a focus on Christian-Muslim relations, and in 2011 he became an ordinary professor of religon and culture at the School of Theology and Religious Studies of the Catholic University of America.

Dr. Valkenberg's recent research concentrates on Christian-Muslim dialogue in the context of Abrahamic partnership, both in the present and in the past.  His research interests include topics in Christian theology such as hermeneutics and Christology, and traditions of Muslim exegesis (tafsir), theology (kalam) and mysticism (tasawwuf). His current projects include an interreligious reading of texts about the “People of the Book” in the Qur’an and a textbook on World Religions from a comparative theological perspective.

For an extended version of this biography, click here.

Graduate Student Assistant
Rebecca Cohen 

Advisory Board

Catholic University Faculty

Marshall Breger, J.D. is a Professor of Law at the Columbus School of Law.  Dr. Breger has served as a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Solicitor of Labor, the chief lawyer of the Labor Department, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Labor Management Standards. Additionally, Breger has acted as the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency, the Alternate Delegate of the U.S. to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and Special Assistant to President Reagan and his liaison to the Jewish Community. Breger is a contributing columnist to Moment magazine. He has published as well in periodicals such as theMiddle East QuarterlyThe National Interest, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Breger is the editor of The Vatican-Israel Accord: Legal, Political, and Theological Issues (Notre Dame University Press, 2004); Public Policy and Social Issues: Jewish Sources and Perspectives (Praeger, 2003); and Jerusalem: A City and Its Future (with Ora Ahimeir) (Syracuse University Press, 2002). With Thomas A. Idinopulos he is the author of Jerusalem’s Holy Places and the Peace Process (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1998); and co-editor with David M. Gordis of Vouchers for School Choice: Challenge or Opportunity? An American Jewish Reappraisal (Wilstein Institute of Jewish Policy Studies, 1998). Professor Breger holds a B.A. and an M.A from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.Phil. from Oriel College, Oxford University; and a J.D., magna cum laude 1973, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Thérèse-Anne Druart, Ph.D. in Ancient Philosophy from Université Catholique de Louvain and B.Phil. in Oriental Studies, section Mediaeval Islamic Philosophy and Theology, from Oxford University, first taught at Georgetown University.  She joined the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America in 1987.  She has written more than 60 articles on Philosophy in Islamic Lands, edited seven books, and is the subeditor for Averroes (Ibn Rushd) of Cordoba, Long Commentary on the De anima of Aristotle, transl., with introduction and notes by Richard C. Taylor (Yale University Press, 2009). Every year she publishes on the web a Brief Bibliographical Guide in Islamic Philosophy and Theology.  Currently she is the President of Société Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences et de la Philosophie Arabe et Islamique, which has its seat in Paris. 

Her main interests are metaphysics and the passage from Greek into Arabic, and, therefore, al-Fârâbî.  She has also worked on the influence of Ibn Sînâ on Duns Scotus.  She sees philosophy in the Islamic World as a collaborative intellectual enterprise between Muslims, Christians, and Jews that allows them to dialogue as well as to defend their own views.  Arabic is a great language to philosophize in and she is impressed by the sophistication and originality of so many philosophers writing in Arabic, despite their ethnic and religious diversity.  The influence philosophical texts originally written in Arabic had on the Medieval Latin world is not sufficiently appreciated. 

She has been a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, Institut Catholique in Madagascar, and Universidad de los Andes in Chile.  

Sidney Griffith, S.T., Ph.D. is currently an Ordinary Professor in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at the Catholic University of America.  He holds a B.A. and a S.T.B. from Holy Trinity Missions Seminary and a S.T.L., a M.S., and a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America.  he is also the author of numerous books and articles relating to the relationship between Christianity and Islam.  His recent publications include The Beginnings of Christian Theology in Arabic: Muslim-Christian Encounters in the Early Islamic PeriodYahya ibn Adi: The Reformation of Morals: A Parallel Arabic-English Edition, and The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam.

Charles B. Jones, Ph.D. was born in North Carolina in 1957, but grew up in a military family that moved frequently both within the U.S. and abroad. He graduated from Morehead State University (Kentucky) in 1980 with a degree in music, and went on to earn the Master of Theological Studies cum laude from the Divinity School of Duke University in 1988 and the Ph.D. in History of Religions from the University of Virginia in 1996. Since joining the faculty of the STRS in the fall of that year, he has pursued research in the history of Chinese Buddhism and the Christian practice of interreligious dialogue. He has also taught courses for Virginia Theological Seminary and the Smithsonian Associates, and recorded a set of lectures on theories in religious studies for The Teaching Company. He has consulted with the U.S. Department of State, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was a Fulbright scholar in Taiwan during the 2004-05 academic year.

Mark Morozowich, S.E.O.D.a Western Pennsylvania native formed in the Ukrainian Catholic Church of his family, pursued a vocation to the priesthood in the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio. He served in Pittsburgh and in Butler, Pennsylvania before beginning doctoral studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome that yielded a comprehensive study of Holy Thursday Liturgy in Jerusalem and Constantinople from the Fourth to the Fourteenth Centuries. Fr. Morozowich lectures as an Associate Professor of Liturgy at the Catholic University of America served as the Associate Dean for Seminary and Ministerial Programs, and is dean of The School of Theology and Religious Studies. His research focuses upon various topics of liturgical history from penitential practices, liturgical year to divergent issues in Eastern Christian Mysteries. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, travel, sports, and boating.

James Wiseman, O.S.B. is a monk of St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC, where he has been serving as abbot since June, 2011.  He was also a full-time member of the theology faculty at The Catholic University of America from 1985 to 2011, primarily teaching courses in Christian spirituality but occasionally ones in interreligious dialogue as well as issues in science and religion.  For many years he has been on the board of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, a group of Benedictine and Cistercian men and women whose purpose is to promote dialogue with members of other religious traditions, especially those which themselves have a strong monastic component, such a Buddhism and Hinduism.  Among the major activities of M.I.D. has been the sponsoring of the Gethsemani Encounters, dialogues between Christian and Buddhist monastics held at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1996, 2002, and 2008, with a fourth one planned for 2015 (which will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton, who was a monk of that abbey from 1941 until his death in 1968).  Abbot James co-edited the volumes that grew out of the first two of those encounters and has also written articles on various topics in interreligious dialogue, including ones on pioneers in the field such as Merton and Abhishiktananda.

Members of the Interreligious Study and Dialogue Community outside of the Catholic University

John Borelli, Ph.D. is the Special Assistant for Interreligious Initiatives to President John J. DeGioia of Georgetown University. He facilitates dialogues, conferences, and other projects for the President’s Office. He is also an Associate Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center, teaches one course a term for the program in Catholic Studies, and serves on several ecumenical and interreligious boards.

Prior to accepting Dr. DeGioia’s invitation in 2003, he served over 16 years (1987-2003) as Associate Director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and, as the Secretariat’s Interim Director, for one year (2001-2002). There he developed three ongoing dialogues with Muslims and staffed numerous other interreligious and ecumenical dialogues and projects. He was a consultor to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for 17 years.  

Dr. Borelli taught full-time at Fordham University (Ph.D., 1976, history of religions and theology) during his final year of graduate studies and chaired religious studies for 11 years at the College of Mount St. Vincent (1976-87).  While teaching, he held a staff position with the New York Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission, co-founded the Catholic-Muslim Dialogue of New York, co-founded the Faiths in the World Committee for the network of Catholic diocesan ecumenical officers, and served as Secretary General of Religions for Peace—USA for one year (1986-87). He was graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Philosophy from St. Louis University in 1968, and served in the U. S. Army in Vietnam in 1970. He has published over 200 articles and co-edited A Common Word and the Future of Christian-Muslim Relations, co-authored, Interfaith Dialogue: A Catholic View with Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, co-authored and edited Quest for Christian Unity with John Erickson, and edited Handbook for Interreligious Dialogue.

Anthony Cirelli, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Director for the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  In his currently capacity, he staffs the interreligious dialogues between the U.S. Catholic Bishops and their counterparts in the Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh traditions.  Originally from Connecticut, Dr. Cirelli completed his B.A. at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and received his M.A.R. from Yale University in New Haven, CT.  He completed his Ph. D. in Systematic Theology with a focus on Patristic Theology and a dissertation on the thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 2007.  His current research is on Pope Benedict XVI.  Before joining the staff at the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Dr. Cirelli taught Systematic and Historical Theology at St. Johns University in New York, NY.

Francis X. Clooney, S.J. taught at Boston College for over 21 years, until in 2005 he  joined the Divinity School at Harvard University, where he is the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology. His primary areas of scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India, and the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological learning deepened through the study of traditions other than one's own. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, and the dynamics of dialogue in the contemporary world. Professor Clooney is the author of numerous articles and books, including most recently Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008), The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus (Peeters Publishing, 2008), and Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He also recently edited The New Comparative Theology: Voices from the Next Generation (Continuum, 2010). His current book project, entitled His Hiding Place Is Darkness: An Exercise in Interreligious Theopoetics, is an exercise in dramatic theology, exploring the absence of God in accord with the biblical Song of Songs and the Hindu Holy Word of Mouth (Tiruvaymoli). He is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus. In July 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and, since 2010, he is also the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.  He has received honorary doctorates from the College of the Holy Cross (2011) and the Australian Catholic University (2012). 

Larry Golemon, Ph.D. is currently the Executive Director of the Washington Theological Consortium.

Richard Jones, Ph.D., a Washington DC native, currently holds the Al- Alwani Chair of Muslim Christian Studies at the Washington Theological Consortium.  Following his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College and after receiving his Masters of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Jones spent several years as an English teacher in Vietnam.  He then continued his education and received a Masters of Divinity from the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1972.  Following some time in Ecuador, he returned to North America and completed his Ph. D. at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Canada in 1988.  His dissertation was entitled Kenneth Cragg and Wilfred Cantwell Smith on Islam: Their Contrasting Implications for a Theology of Religion and a Theology of Mission.  Following his studies, Dr. Jones taught at the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia for 20 years.  He is the author of many articles, including “Singing of God’s Incarnation”, contribution to a A Faithful Witness: Festschrift for Kenneth Cragg, David Thomas, ed. ( 2003); "Is There Life after Peace?  St John the Evangelist (Iglesia Anglicana San Juan Evangelista), San Salvador, El Salvador", Anglican and Episcopal History, LVI (1996), 250-254; and “Religious Pluralism Rests on Questionable Grounds” (Reply to Ovey N. Mohammed), Compass: A Jesuit Journal, VII (March 1989), 47-48.

John T. Pawlikowski, O.S.M., Ph.D. a priest of the Servite Order, serves as Professor of Social Ethics and Director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, a constituent school of the Hyde Park Cluster of Theological Schools.  CTU maintains a strategic alliance with DePaul University.   He has been active in interreligious relations for more than forty years on the national and international levels.    He is the author/editor of many books including Christ in the Light of the Christian-Jewish Dialogue and Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust.  He was a founding member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by Presidential appointment where he served for four terms.  He remains a member of the United States Holocaust Museum's academic and church relations committees He has also served as President of the International Council of Christians and Jews for two terms.  He has contributed to numerous journals including America, Commonweal, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, and Theological Studies.   His work and writing in interreligious relations has been specially focused on Christian-Jewish Relations but increasingly on Christian-Jewish-Muslim Relations as well.