Pope receives French Muslim leaders at the Vatican



The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) met with Pope Francis on November 3. The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, which brings together 200 leaders from different religions.

The delegation was accompanied by Michel Dubost, the Bishop of Evry and president of the Council for Interreligious Relations of the Bishops’ Conference of France, and Vincent Feroldi, director of National Services for Islam Relations (SNRM).

It’s not the first time French Muslim leaders have met with the current Pope. A delegation was received by the Vatican in January 2015, which coincided with the the Paris attacks. The most recent meeting follows the terror attack in July, when a priest, Jacque Hamel, was murdered in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

The meeting came with “highly symbolic significance, to send a message of harmony and fraternity,” said the CFCM president.


Vatican representative meets with Islam scholar in Cairo

December 4, 2013


Vatican City – The Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Msgr. Miguel Angel Ayuso, met Tuesday in Cairo with a senior scholar specializing in the Sunni Islam faith, said a Vatican spokesman. Ayuso met for 45 minutes with Abbas Shouman, the second-highest official with Al Azhar University, a world-renowned center of religious research of Sunni Islam, emphasizing the strong relationship between the pontifical council and the Islamic university, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. The meeting was positive and encouraging, said Lombardi. “The result is a willingness to resume…dialogue and collaboration,” he added. The Vatican has worked to mend fences with the university that suspended relations after the former Pope Benedict said in late 2011 that Christians were the world’s most persecuted religious group. Benedict’s comments came after a year of incidents including a bombing in Alexandria, Egypt in early 2011 where 23 Copts were killed.


Gazzette del Sud: http://www.gazzettadelsud.it/news/71338/Vatican-representative-meets-with-Islam-scholar-in-Cairo.html

Vatican: “The vote in Ticino is not against Islam”

The President of the Pontifical Council defends the decision of Ticino. “It’s about internal security, I do not see the problem”


“It is a decision that the people of Ticino made without regard to religious significance and therefore is not against Islam. This decision was based on an internal security threat.” It is with these words that Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò responded yesterday in the Vatican, to the questions posed by the Corriere del Ticino about the Ticino vote.


The President of the Pontifical Council does not consider the burqa a matter of primary importance. “It’s a small thing. But if a Swiss law bans the burqa in public places, what’s the problem? Clearly, if a police officer met a woman in the street veiled from head to toe, he could not recognize a threat and could take off the burqa.”


The undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, Gabriele Bentoglio, wanted to respond to questions from the CDT, including the issue of the burqa in the current trend towards the search for identity in times like these. “As long as you do not attach a negative identity to a community that does not have one strong identity.,” said Bentoglio, emphasizing how the Catholic Church requests the creation of an identity-pro, or open to others, and not an identity-against position.

Pope Francis Writes to Muslims, I feel like your brother

August 2, 2013

“As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as the Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of Francis, a very famous saint, deeply loved by God and every human being, to the point of being called the ‘universal brother.’” The Pope wrote in a message “to Muslims around the world” on the occasion of “the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, chiefly devoted to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.” In the text, the Pope follows a tradition that, on this occasion, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends a goodwill message, accompanied by a theme offered for joint consideration. “This year, the first of my Pontificate, I decided to send this message to you, dear friends, as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are religious leaders.”

Tauran: Interreligious dialogue: “we are not competing rather; we are pilgrims of the truth”

“Believers know that ‘man does not live by bread alone’, they are aware that they have to make a specific contribution in their daily lives and that they must do so together, not as competitors, but as pilgrims of the truth.” Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue explained, speaking last night in London at the third meeting of the bishops and delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe regarding relations with Muslims. The meeting was sponsored by the CCEE, which will end tomorrow.

Speaking at the opening session, the cardinal recalled the importance of continuing a dialogue between Christians and Muslims, he also supported the visit of Benedict XVI to Lebanon, with a meeting with Muslim religious leaders and the creation Inter-faith Centre in Vienna “which may be a new channel to denounce the violation of religious freedom and at the same time encourage and share positive experiences.”

The Archbishop of Bordeaux, Jean-Pierre Ricard, also in attendance, said “the international landscape was extensively modified as a result of the` Arab Spring ‘ in Egypt and Tunisia, the war in Libya and separatist movements in Syria have repercussions throughout the Middle East.”

Vatican prepares for inter-religious meeting with Muslim leaders

The first meetings were held earlier this week at the Vatican to prepare for the visit of representatives of the 138 Muslim scholars who have offered to conduct an inter-religious dialogue. The first meetings at the Vatican will take place in March at the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and will be presided over by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. The Muslim representatives will meet with Pope Benedict and other Church officials, and hold study sessions at institutes like the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Muslims ask Pope to Allow Them to Pray in Cathedral

A Spanish Muslim group has asked Pope Benedict XVI for permission to worship alongside Christians in the Great Mosque of Cordoba, turned into a cathedral in the 13th century. They sent a letter on Christmas to the Pope’s Spanish representative, asking that the building be opened for prayer by all religions as a model of tolerance and inter-faith dialogue. They hoped to follow up on the Pope’s recent gestures of goodwill towards Muslims on his trip to Turkey. “We invite you to create a new example, to send a message of hope to the world,” says the letter, which was published yesterday on the Spanish Muslim website Webislam. “Do not fear. Together we can show the violent, the intolerant, the anti-semites, the Islam-phobes and also those who believe that only Islam has a right to remain in the world, that prayer is the strongest weapon imaginable.” In 2004, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue rejected a similar request, leaving the decision to Spanish church authorities, who oppose Muslim prayer at the cathedral.

Global Migration Needs Pluralism Not Religious Sectarianism, Says Vatican Group

Migrant workers from Christian, Muslim and other backgrounds have common interests and should seek to support each other, the final text of the twelfth plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People declared last week. Overall the statement also encourages the Catholic Church to move away from a Christendom mentality and to embrace social pluralism, women’s perspectives, integrated education, the rejection of religious sectarianism and violence, and a recognition of common humanity in and through differences of belief. Entitled ‘Migration and itinerancy from and towards majority Islamic countries’, the new Vatican document explores these issues through the global phenomenon of human mobility and examines a range of religious and spiritual challenges – alongside social, cultural, economic and political concerns. Says the Pontifical Council: Catholics, in particular, are called to practice solidarity with Muslim immigrants, to be open to sharing with them and to know more about their culture and religion. At the same time they are [able] to bear witness to their own Christian values in the light of [the] new evangelization, which of course respects freedom of conscience and religion. The _new evangelisation’ is a Catholic pastoral process of formation whereby the Gospel is discovered and shared through listening and dialogue – rather than through the manipulations of proselytism. The statement calls for a mutual process of acceptance and integration, claiming: While it is necessary to welcome Muslim immigrants with respect for their religious freedom, it is likewise indispensable for them to respect the cultural and religious identity of the host societies. The Council suggests that the principle of reciprocity requires a distinction to be drawn between elements of a religious or social culture which need to be respected and those which may threaten or marginalize others. The role of legislation is to maintain public space and civil rights for all. The statement continues: It is therefore necessary to move towards a distinction between the civil and the religious spheres in Islamic countries, too. In any case, it is fundamental, in this context, to distinguish between the West and Christianity, because often Christian values no longer inspire the attitude, position or actions (also with regard to public opinion) in the so-called western world. Regarding the situation in a number Islamic-majority countries, the Pontifical Council declares: Christians and migrant workers in general, who are [often] poor and without real contractual power, have great difficulty in having their human rights recognised. It says that Muslim nations should be expected to practice the minority rights they rightly expect elsewhere. The document also speaks of the need for a renewed commitment to involve women in decision making, especially in issues affecting them, as well as in the work of convincing parents to provide girls with an education equivalent to that given to boys, who should obviously include ethical formation. The section on schools and education emphasizes that it is also important to assure education to the new generations, because the school has a fundamental role to play in overcoming the conflict of ignorance and prejudices; and [it is also important] to have a correct and objective knowledge of the other’s [beliefs], with special attention to the freedom of conscience and religion. It goes on: Muslim parents and religious leaders must be helped to understand the righteous intentions of the western educational systems and the concrete consequences of their refusal of the education imparted in the schools of these systems within which their children live. The Pontifical Council argues that religious, civil and human rights are mutually necessary in secular, Muslim-majority and Christian-majority contexts, and that conflict needs to be addressed with a definite intention to prevent war, violence and terrorism. It is in any case necessary to avoid the abusive use of religion to inculcate hatred for believers of other religions, or for ideological and political reasons, the document asserts. It concludes: It is therefore hoped that Muslim and Christian intellectuals, in the name of a common humanism and out of their respective beliefs, would pose for themselves stark questions about the use of violence, often still perpetrated in the name of their religions.

Vatican Rebuff To Spanish Muslims

The Vatican will not allow Muslims to pray once more in the Mezquita, the former mosque that is now the cathedral of Cordoba, telling them they must “accept history” and not try to “take revenge” on the Catholic church. “We, too, want to live in peace with persons of other religions,” Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, told the Vatican’s AsiaNews agency. “However, we don’t want to be pushed, manipulated and go against the very rules of our faith.” Mgr Fitzgerald criticised the authorities of the southern Spanish city for lobbying to have the building, once one of the world’s biggest mosques, opened to Muslim prayer. “[They] have not the necessary theological sensitivity to understand the church’s position,” he said. He claimed Spanish Muslims who had been publicly lobbying for the right to pray had yet to make a formal request to the Vatican. The archbishop said the Vatican had been careful not to demand similar rights at mosques which were once Catholic churches – though he acknowledged that Pope John Paul II had prayed at a mosque at Damascus in Syria.