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Engage in Dialogue, while Bearing Witness to our Faith



London, 04 May 2013: Dialogue and proclamation and the question of building Christian and Muslim youths’ identity were the two main themes that were discussed during a three-day meeting from 1st to 3rd May in London on Christian-Muslim relations, revealed a press release on Saturday. The meeting was chaired by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and was attended by bishops and delegates for Christian-Muslim relations from 20 European Bishops’ Conferences, as well as delegates from cultural and Church institutions.

The communique further stated that the delegates shared and confirmed that ‘all testimonies of faith imply engaging in dialogue with everybody. In contemporary Europe - whether East or West, North or South – dialogue between Christians and Muslims has become a mandatory necessity. They also agreed that ‘dialogue’ can only be achieved through deeper mutual knowledge. Only through contact and dialogue will it be possible to approach Muslim believers within genuine and unbiased relations. In secularized and pluralistic societies, the challenge of educating people to open up to diversity must be integrated with a deepening of our faith and identity. At the same time, pluralistic societies can only exist if people respect and are looking forward to knowing each other, through constant dialogue, explained the bishops and Bishops Conferences’ delegates for Christian-Muslim relations, who gathered in London, stated the press release.

Father Andrea Pacini, CCEE Meeting Coordinator and Secretary for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue of the regional Bishops’ Conference of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, discussed the relationship between dialogue and proclamation, showing how living testimony is the best synthesis and response regarding both pastoral needs. The reflection on identity building for young Christians and Muslim was illustrated, instead, by Prof. Brigitte Maréchal, from the University of Louvain, and Dr. Erwin Tanner, Secretary General of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference.
The President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and the President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Mons. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, were also in attendance.

During their three-day London meeting, participants addressed the plight of young Christians living as minorities: they discussed the situation in their respective countries, and the difficulties young Christians go through, which might possibly lead to their conversion to Islam. The issue of young Christians’ lesser engagement in their faith – compared to their Muslim peers – was also explored, as well as the initiatives the Church is currently introducing in Europe in order to be present among young people in new and different ways.
During the meeting, delegates from Albania, France, Germany and England reported on their countries’ situation.
Source: VR Sedoc




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