ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
Vatican Message to Muslims at Ramadan's End
"Love for God Is Inseparable From Love for Others"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the message published today
by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious
Dialogue, on the occasion of the end of Ramadan.
The message is entitled: "Christians and Muslims: In Confident Dialogue Aimed
at Solving Together the Challenges of Our World."
* * *
Dear Muslim friends,
1. I am happy to address this message to you for the first time as president
of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and to extend the
council's warmest greetings as you celebrate the conclusion of the fast of
I wish you peace, tranquility and joy in your hearts, your homes and your
countries. These good wishes echo those which His Holiness Pope Benedict
XVI expressed personally at the beginning of Ramadan to the diplomats accredited
to the Holy See from countries with Muslim majorities, to those from other
countries that are members and observers of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, and to representatives of Muslim communities in Italy.
2. It is good to be able to share this significant moment with you in the
context of our ongoing dialogue. The particular circumstances that we have
recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the
path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever.
3. The month of Ramadan which you have just completed has also undoubtedly
been a time of prayer and reflection on the difficult situations of today's
world. While contemplating and thanking God for all that is good, it is impossible
not to take note of the serious problems which affect our times: injustice,
poverty, tensions and conflicts between countries as well as within them.
Violence and terrorism are particularly painful scourges. So many human lives
destroyed, so many women widowed, so many children who have lost a parent,
so many children orphaned … So many wounded, physically and spiritually …
So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed
in a few minutes!
4. As Christian and Muslim believers, are we not the first to be called to
offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation and these
complex problems? Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the
credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake. If we
do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion
and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God.
Our two religions give great importance to love, compassion and solidarity.
In this context, I wish to share with you the message of the first encyclical
letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love),
which echoes the most characteristic "definition" of God in Christian sacred
Scriptures, "God is love" (1 John 4:8).
Genuine love for God is inseparable from love for others: "Anyone who says,
'I love God,' and hates his brother, is a liar, since a man who does not
love the brother he can see cannot love God, whom he has not seen" (1 John
4:20). In recalling this point, the encyclical underlines the importance
of fraternal charity in the Church's mission: Love, to be credible, must
It must come to the aid of everyone, beginning with the most needy. True
love must be of service to all the needs of daily life; it must also seek
just and peaceful solutions to the serious problems which afflict our world.
5. Believers who are engaged in helping people in need or seeking solutions
to these problems, do so above all through their love for God, "for the face
of God." Psalm 27 says: "I seek your face, O Lord, hide not your face from
The month of fasting which you have just completed has not only brought you
to give more attention to prayer, it has also rendered you more sensitive
to the needs of others, above all to the hungry, fostering an even greater
generosity toward those in distress.
6. Everyday worries together with the more serious problems faced by the
world call for our attention and our action. Let us ask God in prayer to
help us confront them with courage and determination. In those places where
we can work together, let us not labor separately.
The world has need, and so do we, of Christians and Muslims who respect and
value each other and bear witness to their mutual love and cooperation to
the glory of God and the good of all humanity.
7. With sentiments of sincere friendship I greet you and entrust to you my
thoughts for your consideration. I beseech Almighty God that they will contribute
to the promotion everywhere of the relations of greater understanding and
cooperation that have arisen between Christians and Muslims, and thus offer
a significant contribution to the reestablishment and strengthening of peace
both within nations and between peoples, in accordance with the profound
desires of all believers and all men and women of good will.
Paul Cardinal Poupard
Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata
[Translation of French original issued by the Holy See; adapted]