Friday, 1 February 2013

Day 5: Interfaith - We Reach Out

Nostra Aetate – Decree on the Relation of the Church to non-
Christian religions

‘The Church believes that Christ who is our peace has through his cross reconciled Jews and
Gentiles and made them one in himself’. (Eph 2:14-16)

We recognise that people belong to different kinds of families have different coloured skin,
different likes and dislikes, different political opinions and different experiences of life. So too,
each religion has its own history, set of beliefs, moral code and acts of worship. The following
chart summarises the main differences between the five major world religions. Although there
has been a lot of conflict between religions in the past, today all the major religions are working
to understand one another better and to build a world where people can live together in peace.

Interfaith dialogue is the term we use to describe different religions talking to one another.
Interfaith (or interreligious) dialogue is different from ecumenism because it refers to dialogue
between all of the world religions, not just the Christian churches.

Catholic Leadership on Interfaith Dialogue

World Day of Prayer Pope John Paul II

During the World Day of Prayer in 2002, Pope John Paul II led two hundred other religious leaders in
prayers for world peace in Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis.
The members of each community of faith had travelled to Assisi from the Vatican’s seldom-used rail
station in a seven-car train supplied by Italy’s state-run railway. Pope John Paul II said that he wanted to
use the ‘peace train’ to help all participants of the World Day of Prayer to feel equal.

Religion        Christianity           Islam         Hinduism       Buddhism      Judaism
Followers             2100 million                  1600 million        900 million          400 million         18 million
Sacred text         Bible                           Qur’an                Vedas               Tripitaka/            Tanakh
Moral code           Two Great                   Five Pillars         Doing good         Four Noble          Ten
                          Commandments                                     and meditation    Truths              Commandment
Place of             Church/ Chapel              Mosque              Mandira             Temple              Synagogue

Building Together Pope Benedict XVI

A World of Peace and Fraternity

Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my
predecessor, Pope John Paul II, I sincerely pray that
the relations of trust which have developed between
Christians and Muslims over several years, will not
only continue, but will develop further in a spirit
of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever
more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with
joy, recognises the religious values that we have in
common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.
Interreligious and intercultural dialogue is
necessary for building together this world of
peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people
of good will … I am profoundly convinced that in
the current world situation it is imperative that
Christians and Muslims engage with one another
in order to address the numerous challenges that
present themselves to humanity, especially those
concerning the defence and promotion of the
dignity of the human person and the rights ensuing
from that dignity.
Benedict XVI, Address to the Ambassadors of
Countries with a Muslim Majority and the
Representatives of Muslim Communities in Italy, 25