Pope's Address to Muslim Representatives
"Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue ... a Vital Necessity"
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 21, 2005 (COL) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today during his meeting at World Youth day with representatives of some Muslim communities.
* * *
Dear Muslim Friends!
It gives me great joy to be able to be with you and to offer you my heartfelt greetings. I have come here to meet young people from every part of Europe and the world. Young people are the future of humanity and the hope of the nations. My beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, once said to the young Muslims assembled in the stadium at Casablanca (Morocco): "The young can build a better future if they first put their faith in God and if they pledge themselves to build this new world in accordance with God's plan, with wisdom and trust" ("Insegnamenti," VIII/2, 1985, p. 500). It is in this spirit that I turn to you, dear Muslim friends, to share my hopes with you and to let you know of my concerns at these particularly difficult times in our history.
I am certain that I echo your own thoughts when I bring up as one of our concerns the spread of terrorism. Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction, and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair. Those who instigate and plan these attacks evidently wish to poison our relations, making use of all means, including religion, to oppose every attempt to build a peaceful, fair and serene life together.
Terrorism of any kind is a perverse and cruel decision which shows contempt for the sacred right to life and undermines the very foundations of all civil society. If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace. The task is difficult but not impossible. The believer knows that, despite his weakness, he can count on the spiritual power of prayer.
Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The life of every human being is sacred, both for Christians and for Muslims. There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values. The dignity of the person and the defense of the rights which that dignity confers must represent the goal of every social endeavor and of every effort to bring it to fruition. This message is conveyed to us unmistakably by the quiet but clear voice of conscience. It is a message which must be heeded and communicated to others: Should it ever cease to find an echo in peoples' hearts, the world would be exposed to the darkness of a new barbarism. Only through recognition of the centrality of the person can a common basis for understanding be found, one which enables us to move beyond cultural conflicts and which neutralizes the disruptive power of ideologies.
During my meeting last April with the delegates of Churches and Christian communities and with representatives of the various religious traditions, I affirmed that "the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole" (L'Osservatore Romano, 25 April 2005, p. 4). Past experience teaches us that relations between Christians and Muslims have not always been marked by mutual respect and understanding. How many pages of history record battles and even wars that have been waged, with both sides invoking the name of God, as if fighting and killing the enemy could be pleasing to him. The recollection of these sad events should fill us with shame, for we know only too well what atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity. The defense of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization.
In this regard, it is always right to recall what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said about relations with Muslims. "The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves wholeheartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God. ... Although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people" (declaration "Nostra Aetate," No. 3).
You, my esteemed friends, represent some Muslim communities from this country where I was born, where I studied and where I lived for a good part of my life. That is why I wanted to meet you. You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith. Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation. As Christians and Muslims, we must face together the many challenges of our time. There is no room for apathy and disengagement, and even less for partiality and sectarianism. We must not yield to fear or pessimism. Rather, we must cultivate optimism and hope.
Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends. Young people from many parts of the world are here in Cologne as living witnesses of solidarity, brotherhood and love. They are the first fruits of a new dawn for humanity. I pray with all my heart, dear Muslim friends, that the merciful and compassionate God may protect you, bless you and enlighten you always. May the God of peace lift up our hearts, nourish our hope and guide our steps on the paths of the world.
[Translation distributed by Vatican press office]
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Pope, Benedict, World, Youth,Vatican, Radio, Germany
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Science is transforming the pro-life debate for the better HD Video
- Pope Francis in Peru invites us to be saints
- St. Ildephonsus: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, January 23, 2018
- Income inequality - Here's why world poverty and hunger remain a ...
- The government shutdown continues, but bombs still drop, surveillance ...
- The shocking numbers that reveal why poverty is here to stay HD Video
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, January 23, 2018
- Daily Reading for Monday, January 22nd, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, January 21st, 2018 HD
- Jobless claims are down - what does that mean for workers? HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education