Conclusions of Catholic-Muslim Meeting

«Responsibilities of Religious Leaders Especially in Times of Crisis»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2008 ( Here is the final statement of the 11th colloquium of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Islamic Call Society, which ended today in Rome.

The theme of the Colloquium was «Responsibilities of Religious Leaders especially in Times of Crisis.»

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The Catholic and the Muslim participants agreed on the following:

1) The first and most important responsibility of religious leaders is one of a religious nature, according to their respective religious traditions, to faithfully fulfill them through teaching, good deeds and example, thus serve their communities for the glory of God.

2) Considering the role religions can and should have in society, religious leaders also have a cultural and social role to play in promoting fundamental ethical values, such as justice, solidarity, peace, social harmony and the common good of society as a whole, especially the needy, the weak, migrants and the oppressed.

3) Religious leaders have a special responsibility towards youth, who require particular attention so that they do not fall victim to religious fanaticism and radicalism, receiving rather, a sound education thereby helping them to become bridge builders and peace makers.

4) Taking into consideration that crises of diverse nature, including in interreligious relations, are possible, on a national or international level, religious leaders should learn to prevent, cope with and remedy these particular situations, avoiding their degeneration into confessional violence. This requires a mutual respect and reciprocal knowledge, both cherishing personal relations and building confidence and mutual trust, so as to be able to confront together crises when they occur.

The participants were honoured and pleased to be received by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who expressed his satisfaction and strong encouragement.

The two sides agreed to hold the next colloquium in Tripoli within the next two years.

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