Saturday, 16 September 2006

Benedict XVI on Islam


Here's the other side to the story - an extract from the Holy Father's now virtually forgotten address to Muslim representatives at Cologne on 20 August 2005.

'Past experience teaches us that, unfortunately, relations between Christians and Muslims have not always been marked by mutual respect and understanding. How many pages of history record battles and 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 defence 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 whole-heartedly, 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, n. 3).
For us, these words of the Second Vatican Council remain the Magna Carta of the dialogue with you, dear Muslim friends... 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.'

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Stephanie said...

Thanks for posting that.

12:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well hello,
Your post titled "Benedict XV1 on Islam" has traveled around the world. Here I am, a 67 year old Jewish grandma in California, delighted to read what the Pope had to say. I wish there were leaders of equal stature on the other side. All I've heard so far are threats of violence and revenge if the Pope doesn't make an "acceptable" public apology.
The Pope's speach at Cologne needs to be widely circulated. Thank you for posting it.

6:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. Thanks for posting that. It certainly puts things in a different perspective.

Cheers,
From a lapsed agnostic Australian methodist!

10:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting that. I am a muslim, but in all honesty I am appalled, and shamed, by the reaction to the Pope's speech. I have long felt that a more level-headed attitude is necessary in dealing with people of different faith. Not only should non-muslims have a greater understanding of Islam, and see it beyond what the media define it, but muslims, in my opinion, have to be able to react in a more dignified and intelligent manner to issues which offend them. What is done by a small percentage of muslims has completely besmirched the reputation of a billion or so other muslims, who pray the same way, who worship the same God, who read the same holy scripture, and yet seek only to live in peace with their neighbors and mind only their everyday toils, putting food on the table, putting their children through school, etc., etc., the concerns of other people in the world. I believe in Allah, and I believe it when He said that He is the Merciful and the Beneficient. I think some muslims still have to learn to behave in the way of our God and the way of the Prophet.

12:33 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks for the comments. Muslims, Jews, Agnostics and everyone else are very welcome at 'Roman Miscellany'!

11:57 am  

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