Pope meets Iranian delegation

May 3, 2008 - 0:0

VATICAN CITY (Middle East Online) -- Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday met an Iranian Muslim delegation taking part in a seminar on “faith and reason” in Christianity and Islam, the Vatican said.

The delegation was led by the head of Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, Mahdi Mostafavi, the Holy See said in a communiqué.
The pope was “especially pleased with the choice of theme” for the seminar, co-led by Mostafavi and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
The participants issued a joint statement afterward saying that “faith and reason are both gifts of God to mankind” and “intrinsically non-violent.”
They added, “Neither reason nor faith should be used for violence; unfortunately, both of them have been sometimes misused to perpetuate violence.”
The Catholic and Muslim representatives also urged that discourse on the world’s different religions avoid easy “generalizations.”
“Christians and Muslims ... are called to mutual respect, thereby condemning derision of religious beliefs,” they said, adding, “Religious traditions cannot be judged on the basis of a single verse or a passage present in their respective holy books.”
Last year, a group of 138 Muslim scholars from around the world made a joint call for dialogue with Christians, especially Catholics.
One result of the unprecedented appeal was the setting up in March of a permanent office for dialogue with Islam at the Vatican.
This week’s three-day seminar was the sixth bringing together Iranian and Vatican representatives.
The next colloquium will be held in Tehran within two years, preceded by a preparatory meeting.