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Saturday, October 1, 2016
Cardinal Cormac on Christian Muslim interfaith dialogue
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¬†On Saturday, 9 June, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor spoke on 'Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Inter-religious Dialogue' at the University of Cardiff as a guest of the Muslim Council of Wales. He opened his talk by stressing the importance of dialogue between Christians and Muslims. 'I am thoroughly committed' said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor ' to enhancing and maintaining this dialogue not only in Wales and the rest of Britain, but also throughout Europe and in the wider world.' Pointing to the vital role that religious communities are playing in British society, he emphasised that that role can be played well only if the various religions are able to be open and honest about each other. 'One particular principle comes into play here, which is that I should never allow myself to be put into a position where I am telling other people what Muslims believe. I should automatically contact a Muslim friend and ask him or her to do that. Likewise, it is not good for Muslims to tell other people ≠ or each other, for that matter ≠ what Christians believe. It is always better to ask one of us. This is important if we are to avoid offering the world caricatures of each other, and it is necessary to avoid being tricked by prejudice into thinking we understand more than we do.' Quoting from an address made by Pope John Paul II to young Moroccans in Casablanca in 1985, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor pointed out the basic thing that unites Christians and Muslims: "Christians and Muslims, we have many things in common, as believers and as human beings. We live in the same world, marked by many signs of hope, but also by multiple signs of anguish. We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection" He went on to emphasise the importance of respect for the truth in any dialogue between the two religions: '. Dialogue becomes fruitful only when everyone involved feels able to say what he or she believes, or what identifies him or her as a Muslim or as a Christian. This obviously requires a capacity to listen without correcting the other person's standpoint, a willingness to accept diversity together with a desire to learn from the other without ever feeling one's own beliefs are being belittled or criticised. If I look back to my schooldays, I remember there was a strong tradition of debating, where a cardinal rule was to have total respect for the other speaker, while feeling free to put his ideas to the test. Perhaps that was good training for true dialogue, where respect is of paramount importance, and there can be open and honest discussion of what everyone says.' The full text of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's lecture can be found at: http://www.rcdow.org.uk/cardinal/
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