Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Catholic Muslim Dialogue

The mutual discussion—one of the most important discussions in the world—opened by Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address, has concluded its first meeting, and issued a statement, remarked on by Chisea.

An excerpt.

“The hard thing is to move from theory to practice. Words, silences, and background of the first meeting of the Forum between the two religions, born from the lecture of Benedict XVI in Regensburg and the letter to the pope from 138 Islamic scholars.

“ROMA, November 10, 2008 – In the photo, Benedict XVI is shaking the hand of Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian and the president of the Islamic Society of North America. Watching is Tariq Ramadan, the most famous and controversial of the European Muslim thinkers, an Egyptian with Swiss citizenship and a professor at Oxford, grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The photo was taken on Thursday, November 6, in the Sala Clementina of the apostolic palaces. The pope was receiving the two delegations, one Catholic and one Muslim, each including 24 members and 5 consultants, that had participated in the first seminar of the Catholic-Muslim forum. It was held on November 4-5 at the Vatican, organized by the pontifical council for interreligious dialogue and by representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who signed the open letter to Christian leaders dated October 13, 2007, one year after the memorable lecture delivered by Benedict XVI in Regensburg.

“The encounter with the pope opened with a greeting from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Catholic delegation, and two addresses read by the head of the Muslim delegation, Shaykh Mustafa Cerić, a Sunni, the grand mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a Shiite, an Iranian immigrant to the United States and a professor at George Washington University.

“Benedict XVI responded to all of them with a speech in which he said:

"There is a great and vast field in which we can act together in defending and promoting the moral values which are part of our common heritage. Only by starting with the recognition of the centrality of the person and the dignity of each human being, respecting and defending life which is the gift of God, and is thus sacred for Christians and for Muslims alike – only on the basis of this recognition, can we find a common ground for building a more fraternal world, a world in which confrontations and differences are peacefully settled, and the devastating power of ideologies is neutralized."

“And again:

"My hope is that these fundamental human rights will be protected for all people everywhere. Political and religious leaders have the duty of ensuring the free exercise of these rights in full respect for each individual’s freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. The discrimination and violence which even today religious people experience throughout the world, and the often violent persecutions to which they are subject, represent unacceptable and unjustifiable acts, all the more grave and deplorable when they are carried out in the name of God."