A “Funny” Thing Happened On The Way To The Interfaith Forum


Pope Benedict XVI is demonstrating interfaith leadership by example with the Catholic-Muslim Forum which is now scheduled for November of this year (details below). As with my post on March 6th, congratulations for the pontiff are in order! After his not-so-funny choice of theological quotations infuriated Muslims from around the world, the Pope is dutifully making amends on the way to the Forum. The Pope is showing us by his word and deed that he is able to overcome and transcend the small-minded thinking and behavior of the past which has led to needless bloodshed and enmity between Christians and Muslims.

Where will all of this goodwill lead humanity if our Father in Heaven has anything to say about it? One (global) Family Under God! It will seem to many to be a long and treacherous road filled with dangers and toils along the way. However the simple practice of dutifully loving one’s enemy travels faster than the speed of light and has the power to breakthrough any barrier!

First he announces that he is planning to pardon Martin Luther. Now this! If the Pope continues to open his heart and mind at this rate, the next thing you know he will announce his own engagement to be married to a hand-picked disciple of the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon! And if he does, he won’t have to be concerned with the usual well-justified fear of excommunication!

At the risk of sounding redundant, let me repeat my earlier recommendation of an interview with Rev. Dr. Jeff Utter, Pastor of Bixby Knolls Christian Church in Long Beach, California who astutely reveals for fellow Christians (including Catholics) everything you ever wanted to know about interfaith dialouge, but were afraid to ask on “The Defining Moment Television Talk Show.” Watch it here.

As reported by ReligionAndSpirituality.com:

Catholic-Muslim dialogue ‘a long road’

ReligionAndSpirituality.com March 7, 2008 The recently launched dialogue between Catholics and Muslims “is a long road that may last decades, but one that will bring us to recognize ourselves as brothers, even in our diversity,” Egyptian Jesuit Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, an expert on Islam, told AsiaNews. He was commenting on the creation of a permanent Catholic-Muslim Forum Wednesday by Vatican officials and signatories of the October open letter to Christian leaders titled “A common Word” signed by 138 Muslim scholars.

The Forum will convene in Rome Nov. 6-8 with 24 religious leaders and academics from both faiths on the theme “Love of God and Love of Neighbor.” Discussion points will be “theological and spiritual foundations” and “human dignity and mutual respect.” Pope Benedict XVI will receive the participants at the conclusion of the working session, AsiaNews reported Friday.

Regarding human rights and mutual respect, Fr. Samir said, “In fact from the Christian standpoint, man – the image of God – has an absolute dignity... Behind this concept lies the entire program for dialogue,” he said.

“Mutual respect means: you have your principals and you have the right to express them, but you cannot force me to recognize them as being valid for me. Let us take the expression from the Koran: ‘To you be your religion; to me my religion’ (Koran 109:6) as Mohammad ... said to the unbelievers in Mecca.”