Pope’s message to the Foundation for Interreligious Dialogue

Source: FSSPX News


On February 1st, Benedict XVI received the members of the “Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue” who came to present him with a joint edition of the Torah, the Bible and the Koran produced by this Institution. Rejoicing over the publication of a joint edition “of the three Sacred Books of the three monotheistic religions,” Benedict XVI declared that “The reinterpretation, and for some people, the discovery of the texts that so many people across the world venerate as sacred, demands mutual respect in trusting dialogue.”

Prince El Hassan bin Talal, brother of the king of Jordan, is founding member and president of the foundation which has its seat in Geneva. The organization aims at fostering dialogue between the religions, and tolerance. It fights against religious violence and terrorism. When it was launched in 1999, Prince El Hassan had met with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith had, at that time, given his support to the initiative.

Some excerpts from the pope’s address will enable us to better understand the aim of interreligious dialogue according to the Second Vatican Council:

“As I have said on several occasions, in continuation with the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Ætate and with my beloved Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, we, Jews, Christians and Muslims are called to develop the bonds that unite us. Indeed, it was this idea that led us to create this Foundation which aims to seek “the most essential and authentic message that the three monotheistic religions, namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, can address to the world of the 21st century,” to give a new impetus to interreligious and intercultural dialogue by means of our common research and by highlighting and disseminating everything in our respective spiritual heritages that helps to strengthen fraternal ties between our communities of believers. (…)

“Our contemporaries expect of us a message of harmony and peace and the practical expression of our common willingness to help them achieve their legitimate aspiration to live in justice and peace. They are entitled to expect of us a strong sign of renewed understanding and reinforced cooperation in accordance with the actual objective of the Foundation, which proposes to offer ‘to the world in this way a sign of hope and the promise of divine Blessings that always accompanies charitable action.’ (…)

“Thus, we are invited to engage in a common task of reflection. This is a labor of reason for which I wholeheartedly appeal, with you, to be able to examine God’s mystery in the light of our respective religious traditions and wisdom so as to discern the values likely to illumine the men and women of all the peoples on earth, whatever their culture and religion. (…)

“We believe that God will bless our initiatives if they converge for the good of all his children and enable them to respect each other in brotherhood worldwide. Together with all people of good will, we aspire to peace. That is why I insist once again: interreligious and intercultural research and dialogue are not an option but a vital need for our time.”