VATICAN, Friday, July 10, 2020 (WAFA) – A Palestinian Catholic bishop was Wednesday named a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
The Catholic Center for Studies and Media announced in a press statement that the Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali was named by Pope Francis a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, among other nominations.
The new appointments include six cardinals and 16 bishops from all over the world. The Pontifical Council is the central office of the Church for the promotion of interreligious dialogue in accordance with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
It is responsible for promoting mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration between Catholics and followers of other religious traditions; encouraging the study of religions; and promoting the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue.
Born in the Palestinian city of Beit Sahour in 1950, Bishop Shomali entered the Minor Seminary in Beit Jala in 1961. Following the completion of his studies in philosophy and theology, he was ordained as a priest by Patriarch Jacques Joseph Beltritti in 1972, serving Zarqa and Shatana in Jordan. During his ministry at Jordan, he obtained the Bachelor in English Literature from Yarmouk University in 1980.
He worked as a professor at the Major Seminary in Beit Jala in August 1980 and served as the vicar-rector of the seminary in 1982. He obtained the Ph.D. in liturgy studies from St. Anselm University in Rome in May 1989 and returned to the seminary, where he served as a professor of liturgy, vice rector and perfect of studies for the sections of philosophy and theology.
He was appointed as the general administrator of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem in October 1998, and as the chancellor of the patriarchate in August 2009. He was consecrated as the auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem on March 27, 2010, and nominated as the patriarchal vicar for Jordan on February 8, 2017.