September 18, declaration of Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Councils for culture and interreligious dialogue

Source: FSSPX News


Was the pope’s address at the University of Regensburg misinterpreted?

“Misinterpretation” is too weak a word! The pope’s intention was clear: in his lectio magistralis addressed to an audience of university people, he was dealing with the relation between faith and reason. Speaking to representatives of Western culture, he intended to underline the serious mutilation undergone by secularized cultures, which tend to exclude religion from the field of rationality.

John Paul II made a similar gesture in Paris, and many have forgotten this, on the occasion of his first apostolic visit to France (1980), when he gave a “philosophical” address at the Catholic Institute. In his former University, Pope Benedict XVI clearly said: “We urgently need a true dialogue between cultures and religions.” When he affirmed this necessity, he stressed the fact that “deeply religious cultures in the world – and is this the case with Muslim countries? – see precisely in the exclusion of the divine from the universal field of reason an attack against their deepest convictions.” Thus, the pope made himself the spokesman of these religious cultures, and first of all of Islam.

How can the Holy See come out of the crisis today?

The Holy Father himself gave the answer at the end of his address at the University, which I invite you to read! “We must become capable of a true dialogue between cultures and religions. This is a dialogue of which we are in urgent need.”


Today, is dialogue with the Islamic world jeopardized?

Certainly not! There is no such thing as an Islamic world, but there are a multitude of worlds with which dialogue is more or less advanced. How could we give up all that has been gained during the past forty years of dialogue with representatives of Islam in Europe, as well as in Africa, in Asia, and everywhere in the world?

It is absolutely not the pope’s intention, nor is it that of all those who daily live this dialogue in the dioceses or countries concerned, to put an end to it. For us, this is a necessity born from our very faith. This dialogue develops irrespective of the commotion created by the media. Strong friendships have been established in mutual respect and with a real desire to share our common responsibilities for peace in the world.


In which direction does Benedict XVI henceforth plan to orientate dialogue with Islam and other religions?

Pope Benedict XVI, ever since the beginning of his pontificate, has kept stressing the importance and timeliness of interreligious dialogue, just as Cardinal Ratzinger used to do in his numerous writings. This dialogue between believers from various cultures is a dialogue of reason.