Sheikh Mustafa Ceric on the Resignation of H.H. Pope Benedict XVI
On behalf on the A Common Word Initiative and of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought
The news today about H.H. Pope Benedict XVI's resignation at the end of this month (February 2013) after nearly eight years as the successor of St. Peter and head of the Catholic Church was highly noticed by all the Muslims who had dialogue with him. First as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and then Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013 after John Paul II's death, he will be remembered as a foremost Catholic theologian and a sincere pastor for the Catholic faithful.
Although initially hurt by his remarks about Islam on September 12, 2006, while lecturing on "Faith, Reason and the University" at the University of Regensburg, Germany, Muslim Scholars appreciated his apology afterwards and his subsequent friendly visits to Islamic countries and mosques, particularly the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. They also appreciated his willingness to engage with the historic ‘A Common Word’ initiative of 138 Muslim scholars of October 13th, 2007, and his establishing (together with them) the Catholic–Muslim Forum for dialogue between Catholics and Muslims. The first summit of the Catholic–Muslim Forum took place on 4–6 November 2008 in Vatican, and the second was held in the city of the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ in Jordan between 21-23 November, 2011 under the auspices of The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought—both with another fifty senior scholars and delegates. The Pope's graceful resignation as a last act to serve as a good example was also duly noted.
We hope that the spirit of friendly Muslim-Catholic dialogue will continue with H.H. Pope Benedict XVI's successor and that Muslim and Catholic communities all around the world will live in harmony, especially as the whole world currently celebrates the U.N. official World Interfaith Harmony Week, which was initiated in October 2010 as a fruit of the A Common Word initiative.
On behalf on the A Common Word Initiative and of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought,
Dr. Mustafa Ceric,
Former Grand Mufti of Bosnia
Pope to Europe
A Soul for Europe:
apostolic visit of John Paul II in Alsace and Lorraine and European communities of Strasbourg
Une âme pour l'Europe
voyage apostolique de Jean-Paul II en Alsace et Lorraine et aux communautés européennes de Strasbourg
THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II
Apostolic Pilgrimage to France
(October 8 - 11, 1988)
Address by His Holiness Pope JOHN PAUL II
to the European Council in Strasbourg (October 8, 1988)
[French, Italian, Spanish]
Google translated from French
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am pleased today to be able to visit the Council of Europe and to speak to the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg city whose history attests European vocation. I warmly thank the President Louis Jung, words he has just made, and, appreciate him and Mr. Marcelino Oreja, Secretary General, for agreeing to renew the invitation that was made to me for several years. This will give me the opportunity to express the esteem of the Catholic Church back to an institution of which it follows closely the activity by a Permanent Mission. Your Board is beautiful and great mission to bring the nations of this continent to consolidate "peace based on justice", "for the preservation of human society and civilization" in an unwavering commitment to "the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of their peoples, "to name a few key phrases in the preamble of your status. The Council of Europe will celebrate next year the fortieth anniversary of its founding. This is an opportunity for your Assembly representative democratic bodies of twenty-one countries to take stock of further work done to meet the expectation of the people, to serve as an ideal of freedom, tolerance and respect for the law .dropoff window
2. In the aftermath of World War II, born in Europe, the need was strongly felt overcome differences between people who came to compete. The desire was expressed for interrelating belligerents of yesterday and institutionalize their cooperation. I can not forget that in the midst of the turmoil, the voice of Pope Pius XII had risen to proclaim the "inviolable dignity of man", "man's true freedom" . It should pay tribute to the far-sighted men who have come together, across borders and overcome old enmities, to propose and make the project of this Council will become a place where Europe is aware of her -even where it measures the tasks it has to perform in response to the anxieties and expectations of its citizens, as it begins a necessary cooperation on many difficult sites. I know that you are faithful to the memory of those you call the "fathers of Europe", as Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman. To the latter I will borrow a formulation of the central intuition of the founders: "Service to humanity finally freed from hate and fear, and learns, after too long rifts, Christian fellowship" .
3. It is true that men and women of the old continent to the tormented history need to regain awareness of what founds their common identity, which remains as vast shared memory. Certainly, European identity is not easy to define reality. Distant sources of this civilization are many, from Greece and Rome, Celtic funds, Germanic and Slavic Christianity which deeply steeped. And we know what diversity of languages, cultures and legal traditions, Brand nations, regions and also the institutions. But compared with other continents, Europe appears as a single unit, even if its cohesion is less clearly perceived by those who constitute it. This look can help them better meet itself.
In nearly two centuries, Christianity helped forge a conception of the world and the man who today remains a fundamental contribution, beyond the divisions, weaknesses, or even drop Christians themselves. Allow me to mention here some essential features only. The Christian message reflects a close relationship between man and his Creator that enhances all aspects of life, starting with the physical life: the body and the cosmos are the work and gift of God. Faith in God the Creator has demystified the cosmos to give to rational investigation of man. Controlling his body and subduing the earth, the person is making capabilities in turn "creative" in the Christian vision of man, far from despising the physical universe provides freely and without fear. This positive view has contributed to the development by European science and technology.
At peace with the cosmos, the Christian man has learned to respect the inestimable value of each person created in the image of God and redeemed by Christ. Gathered in families, cities, people, human beings do not live and do not toil in vain: Christianity teaches them that history is not indifferent cycle perpetual renewal, but finds meaning in the covenant that God offers men to invite them to freely accept his Kingdom.
4. Man's Bible design allowed the Europeans to develop a high notion of the dignity of the person, which remains an essential value even in those who do not adhere to a religious faith. The Church says it is in man an irreducible aware containers that weigh on it, a consciousness capable of knowing his own dignity and open to the absolute, a consciousness that is the source of the fundamental choices guided by looking good for others as for himself, a consciousness that is the place of responsible freedom.
It is true that many abuses have occurred, and Christians know that they will have had their share. The person, as the sole subject of rights and duties, has often given way to the individual prisoner of his selfishness and considering itself as its own end.
On the other hand, the exaltation of the group, nation or race could lead to totalitarian and murderous ideologies. Everywhere, materialism practice or theoretical disregarded the spiritual nature of man and dramatically reduced its reasons for living. It is the honor of democracies to seek an organization of society as the person is not only respected in all it is, but it contributes to the common work by exercising his free will.
5. Your Council was faithful to the legacy of European consciousness by giving major task as the proclamation and protection of human rights. By ratifying the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Member States wanted to strengthen their union around the principles and the highest values of the European tradition. To ensure all the application, they instituted the Court and the European Commission of Human Rights, recognizing their competence and unique judicial authority in international organizations.
As evidenced by the reflection of your Assembly on many aspects of life in society, the consideration of the rights and dignity of the human person goes beyond what define the specific texts concerning the rights of man. The Church believes that man has the right to liberty and security needed to conduct his life according to the demands of his right conscience, his spiritual openness to the absolute and vocation to fraternal life. Among the areas that affect what is there deeper in man, there are several on which it wishes to express his views.
6. The family is probably the reality in which the interaction of personal responsibility and social conditions appears most. Recent developments in European society has made it more difficult to balance and stability of families. In this sense play economic factors related to the job - especially that of women -, housing, people travel, voluntary migration and forced exile. On the other hand, we see spreading designs that devalue love, sexuality isolate the communion of life that expresses weaken stable links which engages a truly human love. There is a real danger, because the family becomes unstable and disintegrates. The downward demographic trends are a sign of a crisis of the family that raises concerns.
In this situation, it is necessary that the Europeans pull themselves together and restore the family to its first element value in social life. They know to create conditions that promote stability, which allow to accommodate and give generously to life! We regain consciousness of the dignity of responsibilities exercised by every human being in his home for the support and the happiness of others! The family itself is a subject of rights, it must be admitted more clearly.