The Cardinal Writes, the Prince Responds. The Factors that Divide the Pope from the Muslims

Sandro Magister has a fascinating article in www.chiesa today. The commentary is on the upcoming meeting between the Vatican and over 130 prominent Muslim authors. The article is highly enlightening. Please check the URL above to read it in full. Here is a snippet underlining an apparent difference in emphasis between the two Faiths which has been evident in the responses on what should be discussed:

Returning to Benedict XVI, the dialogue he wants with Islam is still as he explained it in a passage of his pre-Christmas address to the Roman curia on December 22, 2006:

"In a dialogue to be intensified with Islam, we must bear in mind the fact that the Muslim world today is finding itself faced with an urgent task. This task is very similar to the one that has been imposed upon Christians since the Enlightenment, and to which the Second Vatican Council, as the fruit of long and difficult research, found real solutions for the Catholic Church.

"It is a question of the attitude that the community of the faithful must adopt in the face of the convictions and demands that were strengthened in the Enlightenment.

"On the one hand, one must counter a dictatorship of positivist reason that excludes God from the life of the community and from public organizations, thereby depriving man of his specific criteria of judgment.

"On the other, one must welcome the true conquests of the Enlightenment, human rights and especially the freedom of faith and its practice, and recognize these also as being essential elements for the authenticity of religion.

"As in the Christian community, where there has been a long search to find the correct position of faith in relation to such beliefs – a search that will certainly never be concluded once and for all –, so also the Islamic world with its own tradition faces the immense task of finding the appropriate solutions in this regard.

"The content of the dialogue between Christians and Muslims will be at this time especially one of meeting each other in this commitment to find the right solutions. We Christians feel in solidarity with all those who, precisely on the basis of their religious conviction as Muslims, work to oppose violence and for the synergy between faith and reason, between religion and freedom."

From the exchange of letters between cardinal Bertone and the prince of Jordan, it can be gathered that the distance between the two sides remains very wide and deep, with respect to this path indicated by Benedict XVI.

As always, we must wonder to what extent the thoughts of Magister mirror those of the Pope...