VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue set out several years ago to produce a short film on 50 years of Catholic dialogue with members of other religions and ended up with a treasure trove for researchers.

The three-part film, “The Leaven of Good,” marked the 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s 1965 document on relations with other religions.

To make the film, the council conducted on-camera interviews with about 100 people to recount “the experience of dialogue by different persons, from different religions and different parts of the world,” said Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, council secretary.


Sister Judith Zoebelein, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and director of the film, said that with so many people speaking on “their lives and faith and experience in dialogue,” the council thought students and researchers should have access to the complete interviews.

Leaders at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., agreed and are giving a permanent, online home to the interviews on “DigitalGeorgetown,” an official university portal. The first 43 interviews were posted in early June.

Salwa Ismail, head of library information technology at Georgetown, introduced the online collection June 6 to many of the people who were interviewed and to members of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which began its plenary meeting the next morning.

Theology and history students at Georgetown, she said, reviewed the 43 interviews and are continuing to review the others in order to insert the metadata, especially the descriptions and keywords, which make the collection searchable.

Besides adding the rest of the interviews, she said, the pontifical council and Georgetown are developing transcripts of the interviews, which also will be posted.