Friday, October 20, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI: Christians and Muslims Must Face Global Challenges Together


VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Muslims for the end of the month of Ramadan from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. It bears the signatures of Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council. The theme of the Message this year (1427 AH / 2006 AD) is, "Christians and Muslims: in confident dialogue aimed at solving together the challenges of our world."

The document as been published in English, French, Italian and Arabic. Extracts are given below:

"It is good to be able to share this significant moment with you in the context of our ongoing dialogue. The particular circumstances that we have recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever.

"The month of Ramadan which you have just completed has also undoubtedly been a time of prayer and reflection on the difficult situations of today's world. While contemplating and thanking God for all that is good, it is impossible not to take note of the serious problems which affect our times: injustice, poverty, tensions and conflicts between countries as well as within them. Violence and terrorism are a particularly painful scourge. ... So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed in a few minutes!

"As Christian and Muslim believers, are we not the first to be called to offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation and these complex problems? Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake. If we do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God.

"Our two religions give great importance to love, compassion and solidarity. ... In recalling this point, the first Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, 'Deus Caritas Est' (God is Love), underlines the importance of fraternal charity in the Church's mission: love, to be credible, must be effective. ... True love must be of service to all the needs of daily life; it must also seek just and peaceful solutions to the serious problems which afflict our world."

"In those places where we can work together, let us not labor separately. The world has need, and so do we, of Christians and Muslims who respect and value each other and bear witness to their mutual love and cooperation to the glory of God and the good of all humanity. ... [This will] offer a significant contribution to the re-establishment and strengthening of peace both within nations and between peoples."

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