Pope Benedict has invited a delegation of senior Islamic scholars to the Vatican, as a positive response to the October letter they sent to initiate dialogue.
AFP reports that the letter – titled A Common Word between Us and You – was signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars, to appeal to the Pope for a strengthening of ties, and increasing dialogue.
The Holy Father’s response was sent to the prime mover behind the letter, Jordan’s Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal – who is head of the Institute of Islam in Amman.
He expressed his gratitude to all the signatories of the letter, praising the “positive spirit” behind the message.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who sent the letter sent in the Pope’s name wrote the pontiff was particularly impressed to the attention given to the commandment to love God and one’s neighbour.
“Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time will deal with each person according to his or her actions,” Cardinal Bertone wrote.
“We are all called to commit ourselves totally to him and to obey his sacred will.”
The letter continues to state the two must make a commitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance among the younger generation and to promote justice and peace in society and throughout the world.
While the invitation to the Vatican is for a restricted number, the Pope has invited them to co-operate in working meetings with the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and other Catholic institutions like the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Pontifical Gregorian University.