Gülen, Focolare, and Rissho Kosei-kai Movements: Commonalities for Religious and Social Renewal

  • Roberto Catalano Center for Interreligious Dialogue Focolare Movement—Rome


This article compares the characteristics of three movements of religious renewal that were born in the second half of the twentieth century and that have been active in interreligious dialogue: the Buddhist movement Risshō Kōsei-kai, which originated in Japan; the Catholic Focolare Movement, which started in Italy; and the Gülen Movement, which was born in Turkey. These religious renewal phenomena hold in common some elements that offer fertile ground for the development of interreligious dialogue: They are open to other religious traditions and to collaborating with persons of other faiths as they address today’s problems. They are lay movements founded by laypersons who base their views on their scriptures and accepted traditions in lay spiritualties that emphasize transforming the human condition. They give special attention to the communitarian aspect of religion while balancing it with the personal. Their leaders have a charismatic authority that their followers acknowledge.