Together At Last
The Forum was established by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and by Muslim representatives in the wake of the Open Letter sent on 13 October 2007 to His Holiness Benedict XVI and to other heads of Churches and ecclesial Communities by 138 Muslim leaders, and of the reply, sent by the Cardinal Secretary of State in the Holy Father's name on 19 November 2007.A closing joint declaration from the parties will be released on Thursday. Bottom line, though: Ted's there -- peace will flourish.
The theme of the Seminar - "Love of God, Love of Neighbour" - will be tackled from two main standpoints: the first day will be dedicated to "theological and spiritual fundamentals", while the second day will focus on "the dignity of the human person and mutual respect". The Catholic and Muslim sides will both deliver reports on each of these sub-themes, and their statements will then be the basis for the subsequent debates.
On the third day the participants in the Seminar are scheduled to be received in audience by the Holy Father....
Each of the two sides in the meeting will be composed of 29 people, including experts, religious authorities and advisers.
Elsewhere on the Rome-Mecca front, a yearly meet-up in the Stateside Midwest recently tackled both faiths' approaches to religious freedom, announcing at its close that it'll visit Catholic and Muslim perspectives on faithful citizenship next time around. And Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden of Baltimore -- a veteran of the Holy Land, where the highly-regarded prelate spent a decade (much of it in Palestinian refugee camps) as regional head for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association -- recently took the church's lead on a cross-bench effort to better America's bonds with the Muslim world.