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Vatican says Pope cannot sign collective response to Muslims

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A new twist has appeared in the back-and-forth between the Vatican and the Muslim scholars calling for a Christian-Islamic dialogue.

It seems Vatican protocol may partly be responsible for holding up an official Catholic response. “I’m favourable to a quick response to the letter,” said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, adding the Vatican still had “to study what kind of response to make and with whom”.

Then the head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue explained one of the problems to be solved.

“The Pope cannot respond and sign a collective letter,” he told the French Catholic news service I.Media. He gave no reason why, but Vatican protocal can be baroque and contain strict guidelines about what a pope can and cannot do.

Tauran said he might end up being the Vatican signatory if a collective response is agreed. Several non-Catholic churches have already reacted positively, especially the Anglicans and Lutherans, and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said he was consulting his counterparts at the Naples meeting to see if they could respond with one voice.

Discussing the latest letter from Muslim scholars calling his responses to date negative, Tauran told I.Media that the original appeal was “a positive signal, with quotes from the Bible, but some questions remain. When we speak of the love of God, are we speaking about the same love?”

Do readers have an opinion about this? Does the Muslim appeal rate a quick reply? Is the Catholic Church slowing down what other Christian Churches want to make progress on?

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2007/10/23/vatican-says-pope-cannot-sign-response-to-muslims/

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