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Vatican Focuses on Fraternity in Letter to Muslims

Jonathan Rashad

Aleteia - published on 07/18/14

Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends message for end of Ramadan.

On the occasion of the end of Ramadan, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a message to Muslims throughout the world, entitled “An authentic fraternity between Christians and Muslims.”

Signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Council, the letter offered “heartfelt congratulations and good wishes” for the conclusion of the Islamic holy month of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. The month concludes the night of the sighting of the next crescent moon, probably July 28. 

The letter made reference to Pope Francis addressing Muslims as “brothers and sisters” during an Angelus address in August 2013. “We all can recognize the full significance of these words,” the letter reads. “In fact, Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters in the one human family, created by the One God.”

The message for the end of Ramadan also recalled the words of John Paul II, in an address to Muslim religious leaders in 1982, in which he highlighted what the two religions have in common: "All of us, Christians and Muslims, live under the sun of the one merciful God. We both believe in one God who is the creator of man. We acclaim God's sovereignty and we defend man's dignity as God's servant. We adore God and profess total submission to him. Thus, in a true sense, we can call one another brothers and sisters in faith in the one God." (Kaduna, Nigeria, 14 February 1982).”

“We thank the Almighty for what we have in common,” the new letter continued, “while remaining aware of our differences.” It stressed the importance of entering into a “fruitful dialogue” which is established through “mutual respect” and “friendship,” and the need to collaborate for “justice, peace and respect for the rights and dignity of every person.”

The council also wrote that as a consequence of current global challenges such as the economic crisis and threats to the environment, there is a rise in a “sense of vulnerability and a lack of hope for the future.” As such they called for all to be attentive to “the problems faced by so many families which have been separated, leaving behind loved ones and often small children,” and to “work together to build bridges of peace and promote reconciliation especially in areas where Muslims and Christians together suffer the horror of war.”

As a result, their hope is that the two peoples working together will be able to “demonstrate that religions can be a source of harmony for the benefit of society as a whole.”

The Council finished by asking all to “pray that reconciliation, justice, peace and development will remain uppermost among our priorities, for the welfare and good of the whole human family.

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