Dialogue Between Islam and Catholicism

Source: FSSPX News


The Muslim delegation of the signatories of the “Letter of the 138” was pleased with its meeting at the Vatican with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious dialogue on March 4 and 5, 2008. The objective of the meeting was to organize the first “Catholic-Muslim Forum” next November together with the meeting between some of the signatories of the letter and the pope.

During a Press conference, Aref Ali Nayed, Rector of the Royal Center of Strategic Islamic Studies in Amman (Jordan) declared that he was satisfied to see the Vatican “seriously committed to going forward in the dialogue with Muslims.” He mentioned the “positive and welcoming” atmosphere of the meeting. “We took the decision to meet every other year,” he said, and he pointed out that the next meeting of this new “Catholic-Muslim Forum” would take place in a Muslim country.

Yet, he deplored the “great mistake” of Benedict XVI’s address in Regensburg in 2006. “It is still a source of disturbance in many parts of the Islamic world,” but “we must go forward and not stop there.” “It was a very big mistake. If you have a great personality, you can make big mistakes, spectacular mistakes,” he stressed. “We all make mistakes.” What matters is “to be willing to correct such mistakes.”

On March 11, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue spoke on the occasion of a meeting in Rome of the Iscom (Opus Dei’s Institute for Social Communication.” He spoke of the “happy fault” (felix culpa) of Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address. In his eyes, the incident showed the necessity of strengthening dialogue with Islam.

Mentioning the visit of the Muslim delegation at the Vatican, on March 4 and 5, the French prelate recalled the importance of the principle of reciprocity: “We are coherent. If Muslims are allowed to practice their own faith here, we also ask to have the same right in Arab countries.”

The letter of the 138 Muslim must have concrete consequences, he declared, and he gave some precisions on how the meetings would take place in the future: the Holy See desires a permanent structure which would meet every other year, and once a year for a limited committee, alternatively at the Vatican and in an Arab country. Next November, some twenty Muslim representatives will meet at the Vatican to discuss  the theme “Love of God, Love of neighbor,” he said. For this Islam-Catholic Forum, which will end with a private audience with the pope, Shiites and Sunnis will be present. But the dialogue between Catholics and Muslims should become a dialogue between three, i.e. together with the Jews, even if, at present, it seems difficult to invite also the Jews, he hinted. Nevertheless, he wished that “this happens sooner or later.” (Sources: Zenit/ Apic/Imedia)