Positive Steps With Islam Noted

Cardinals Gather With Pope in Pre-consistory Meeting

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2007 (Zenit.org) - Cardinals meeting with Benedict XVI before Saturday’s consistory noted positive steps in the relationship between the Church and Islam.

Last Friday was dedicated to prayer and reflection for the cardinals in Rome on the occasion of the elevation of 23 new members to the College of Cardinals.

The evening session of the day of reflection included 16 interventions.

The Vatican press office also reported that the theme of ecumenism was again touched on in the evening, after the morning session had been largely dedicated to that topic. The HOly Father chose the topic.

“Issues [such] as the cooperation by Christians of different confessions for the defense of the family in society and the legal order, as well as the importance of spiritual ecumenism and of personal relationships with the faithful and authorities of the other Christian confessions” were discussed, the Vatican statement reported.

Other talks dealt with relations with Judaism and with Islam, the statement affirmed.

“There was discussion of the encouraging sign represented by the letter of 138 Muslim scholars and by the visit of the king of Saudi Arabia to the Holy Father,” it said.


The cardinals further discussed the difficulties of Christian faith in the secularized world and the duty and importance of the new evangelization, “which responds to the deep and permanent longings for happiness and freedom of postmodern man,” the communiqué stated.

The cardinals gave special attention to Latin America, where, the Vatican statement reported, “a new missionary drive” was “nourished by the recent general conference of the Latin American and Caribbean bishops that took place in Aparecida, Brazil.”

During the meeting, specific interventions were dedicated to the situation of consecrated life and to formation in seminaries.

The letter of the Holy Father to the Church in China was recalled and there was discussion of its “favorable reception on the part of bishops and faithful,” the statement affirmed.

The urgent commitment of the Church for peace, for the struggle against poverty and for disarmament, above all nuclear disarmament, was also discussed by the cardinals.

Finally, there were talks to convey information about the International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Quebec in June 2008; the Pauline Year; and the diffusion of the Catholic press, especially L’Osservatore Romano.

After a brief response by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Holy Father spoke.

He gave “a concluding summary in which he thanked the cardinals for their participation and their contribution,” the Vatican communiqué stated, “and announced the upcoming publication of his new encyclical on hope in response to the deep longings of our contemporaries.”

The Pope’s new encyclical, “Spe Salvi,” will be signed and released Friday.

© Innovative Media, Inc.