Promising Dialogue (Update)
At the conclusion of the historic “Catholic-Muslim Forum” held these past two days at the Vatican, Pope Benedict addressed the participants.
I am well aware that Muslims and Christians have different approaches in matters regarding God. Yet we can and must be worshipers of the one God who created us and is concerned about each person in every corner of the world. Together we must show, by our mutual respect and solidarity, that we consider ourselves members of one family: the family that God has loved and gathered together from the creation of the world to the end of human history.
I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need. God calls us to work together on behalf of the victims of disease, hunger, poverty, injustice and violence. For Christians, the love of God is inseparably bound to the love of our brothers and sisters, of all men and women, without distinction of race and culture. As Saint John writes: “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4:20).
I pray that the “Catholic-Muslim Forum”, now confidently taking its first steps, can become ever more a space for dialogue, and assist us in treading together the path to an ever fuller knowledge of Truth. The present meeting is also a privileged occasion for committing ourselves to a more heartfelt quest for love of God and love of neighbour, the indispensable condition for offering the men and women of our time an authentic service of reconciliation and peace.
Dear friends, let us unite our efforts, animated by good will, in order to overcome all misunderstanding and disagreements. Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other which even today can create difficulties in our relations; let us work with one another to educate all people, especially the young, to build a common future. May God sustain us in our good intentions, and enable our communities to live consistently the truth of love, which constitutes the heart of the religious man, and is the basis of respect for the dignity of each person. May God, the merciful and compassionate One, assist us in this challenging mission, protect us, bless us and enlighten us always with the power of his love.
At the conclusion of the Forum a joint statement was released, containing fifteen points. Tomorrow’s L’Osservatore Romano will publish an unofficial Italian translation. I have not yet been able to locate the original text (presumably in English), but if past practice is a guide, it may appear first on the Vatican Radio Website.
Here is one of the propositions as given by L’Osservatore Romano:
11. Professiamo che cattolici e musulmani sono chiamati a essere strumenti di amore e di armonia tra i credenti e per tutta l’umanità, rinunciando a qualsiasi oppressione, violenza aggressiva e atti terroristici, in particolare quelli perpetrati in nome della religione, e a sostenere il principio di giustizia per tutti.
We hold that Catholics and Muslims are called to be instruments of love and harmony between believers and all humanity, renouncing all oppression, aggressive violence and terrorist acts, in particular those perfomed in the name of religion, and to uphold the principle of justice for all.