ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, March 19, 2007  – It was announced that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. 

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue was founded by Pope Paul VI in May 1964 and is the central office of the Catholic Church for the promotion of interreligious dialogue.  The Council promotes dialogue with all non-Christian religions.  It nurtures the study of other religions and promotes interactions with the members of other faiths.  The immediate goal of the council is to foster understanding among faiths; the ultimate goal is to help others recognize the truths of the Catholic Church.

Bishop Murphy is a member of the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  On that committee, Bishop Murphy is the Chairman of the Subcommittee for Interreligious Dialogue. In this role, Bishop Murphy oversees the U.S. bishops’ involvement in dialogue with all the world religions except other Christians and Jews. Bishop Murphy also represents the USCCB to the Orthodox Rabbis in the Rabbinic Council and Orthodox Union. 

 “Our task is to bring whatever wisdom we can to these issues in harmony with the Holy Father’s clear and constant commitment to a dialogue based on mutual respect and a desire to know and understand one another better as a service to the truth,” said Bishop Murphy.  “This is not a ‘dialogue of conversion’ but a ‘dialogue of understanding’ that leads to a greater grasp of the truth in a wide variety of areas from specifically religious and theological to social and civic.”

About The Diocese of Rockville Centre

The Diocese of Rockville Centre ( was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million).  There are 134 parishes in 115 towns.  Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese.  There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions.  There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese.  Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice.  Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. 



Sean P. Dolan
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