Archbishop Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, made that assessment of the reception of the Second Vatican Council's declaration on relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, "Nostra Aetate," promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965.
The archbishop was addressing a meeting on the declaration organized by the Lay Center at Foyer Unitas of Rome last week.
Archbishop Miller said that interreligious dialogue is part of the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel and thus an important point in the formation of Catholic schools, especially universities.
"Authentic interreligious dialogue must further, not dilute, the specifically Catholic identity of an institution of higher learning," he said.
"A university's Catholic identity is strengthened when it fosters interreligious dialogue, especially by introducing students to knowledge of other religions and encouraging professors to engage in it through their research," the Vatican official said.
"Indeed, it is more necessary today than ever for the university community to promote the firm Catholic conviction of the common vocation of humanity and the one divine plan of salvation in Christ, who is united in a certain way with everyone," he added.
"Precisely because a Catholic university is born from the heart of the Church," he said, "it should recognize that the way of dialogue is the way of the Church."