Born in England into a Catholic family of Irish descent, Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald was educated by the Missionaries of Africa in Scotland, England and Ireland. He did his novitiate in the Netherlands and his theological studies along with Arabic and Islamic studies in Tunisia. He was ordained priest in London 1961 as a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). Following his ordination, he did advanced theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University earning a doctorate in 1965. He undertook post doctoral studies for three years in Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Thereafter he lectured at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Rome. Thereafter, he was appointed professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda, where he taught courses on Islam.
From 1972 to 1978 he served as Director of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, collaborating to create the periodical on Islam: Encounter, Documents for Christian-Muslim Understanding, and Islamochristiana, a scholarly journal specialized in Muslim-Christian relations and interreligious dialogue. He later served at the General Council of the Missionaries of Africa in Rome for six years and at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, where he was involved in drafting Dialogue and Proclamation one of the Catholic Church’s documents concerning the relationship between dialogue and evangelization.
In October 2002 he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue by Pope John Paul II. He later served as Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt and Vatican Delegate to the Arab League. Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald is one of the leading experts on Islam, Muslim-Christian relations and Interreligious dialogue among the senior hierarchy of the Catholic Church. He has published numerous works including Dieu rêve d’unité. Les catholiques et les religions: les leçons du dialogue. Entretiens avec Annie Laurent (Paris, Bayard Presse, 2005) and (with John Borelli) Interfaith Dialogue. A Catholic View, (SPCK, London & Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2006), both translated into Italian.
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