Pope calls Jews, Christians and Muslims to 'intensify the bonds which unite them'

 Benedict XVI received a delegation from the Foundation for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Research and Dialogue, on Thursday. Led by their president, Metropolitan Archbishop Damskinos of Adrianoupoli, one of the members of the delegation was His Royal Highness Prince Hassan of Jordan. In his address to the group the Pope, who as Cardinal Ratzinger was one of the foundation's founding members, thanked Metropolitan Damaskinos for his gift of the first fruit of their labours: a joint edition of the three sacred texts of the three monotheistic religions, in chronological order and in the original languages. "It was our first project," the Pope recalled, "to make a specific and positive contribution to dialogue between cultures and religions." Following the Council Decree Nostra aetate and the ministry of Pope John Paul II "Jews, Christians and Muslims," said Benedict XVI, "are called to recognize and strengthen the ties that bind us together. It was this idea that brought us to create the foundation, the objective of which is to discover 'the most essential and most authentic message that the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - can communicate to the 21st century world,' with the aim of giving a fresh impulse to inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue through the joint discovery and communication of the elements in our respective spiritual legacies that contribute to reinforcing the fraternal bonds between our communities of believers. The rereading - for some people the discovery - of texts that are sacred to so many people enforces our mutual respect," said the Holy Father. "Men and women today await from us a message of harmony and tranquility, and the concrete expression of our shared will to help them realize their legitimate aspirations to live in justice and peace. They have the right to expect from us convincing signs of new understanding and more intense cooperation". The Holy Father stressed the need for "commitment to common reflectionthe ponder the mystery of God in the light of our religious traditions and our respective wisdoms, to discern values capable of illuminating the men and women of all the peoples on earth, whatever their culture or religion ." Starting from a point in common, precisely this joint edition of the three sacred texts of the three monotheistic religions, "we can advance in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, more than ever necessary today: dialogue which is sincere, respectful of differences, courageous, patient and persevering, which draws its energy from prayer and is nourished by the hope which lives in all those who believe God and place their trust in Him". Source: Fides

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