Monday, October 29, 2007

Pope Benedict Responds to Muslim Invitation to Dialogue

Pope invites senior Muslims to Vatican meeting AFP Nov. 29, 2007:
VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Pope Benedict XVI invited a delegation of senior Muslim personalities, who signed an appeal for greater dialogue between religions, to a meeting at the Vatican, according to a letter released Thursday.

The pope praised the "positive spirit" behind the October 11 message signed by 138 top Muslims from around the world and sent to Christian leaders, said Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in the letter sent in Pope Benedict's name.

The pope wanted to meet a representative group of the signatories at the Vatican, he added in the letter sent to Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, head of the Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman.

"The Pope has asked me to convey his gratitude to Your Royal Highness and to all who signed the letter," Bertone wrote.

"He also wishes to express his deep appreciation for this gesture, for the positive spirit which inspired the text and for the call for a common commitment to promoting peace in the world.

"Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time will deal with each person according to his or her actions. We are all called to commit ourselves totally to him and to obey his sacred will."

The letter said the pope "was particularly impressed by the attention given in the letter to the twofold commandment to love God and one's neighbour." [...]

Bertone said that with a view to encouraging the "praiseworthy initiative" from the Muslim leaders, "His Holiness would be most willing to receive Your Royal Highness and a restricted group of signatories of the open letter, chosen by you.

"At the same time, a working meeting could be organized between your delegation and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, with the cooperation of some specialized Pontifical Institutes (such as the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Pontifical Gregorian University)."

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