ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
Vatican Appeals to Muslims for Dialogue
Sends Message at End of Ramadan
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Dialogue between Muslims and Christians
"is more necessary than ever," said the Vatican's annual message to Muslims
at the end of Ramadan.
In an unusual move, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of Pontifical Council
for Interreligious Dialogue, presented the note today in a press conference,
together with the council's secretary, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata.
The extra attention to this year's message shows the particular importance
of the statement, as it comes in the wake of Benedict XVI's address in Regensburg,
Germany, which caused a wave of protests in the Muslim world.
"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 cardinal wrote.
The document is entitled "Christians and Muslims: In Confident Dialogue Aimed
at Solving Together the Challenges of Our World."
The message restated Benedict XVI's greetings to leaders of Muslim communities
in Italy and ambassadors of Muslim countries accredited to the Holy See,
at the start of Ramadan. In that meeting the Holy Father confirmed his commitment
to dialogue with Muslim believers.
Cardinal Poupard said in the message: "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 particularly painful scourges. So many lives
destroyed, so many women widowed, so many children who have lost a parent,
so many children orphaned ... So many wounded, physically and spiritually
... So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed
in a few minutes!"
Addressing Christians and Muslims, he asked, "Are we not the first to be
called to offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation
and these complex problems?"
The cardinal continued: "Without a 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."
"Genuine love for God is inseparable from love of others," he said, quoting
Benedict XVI's encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est."
"True love must be of service to all the needs of daily life," stated Cardinal
Poupard. "It must also seek just and peaceful solutions to the serious problems
which afflict our world.
"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."