YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, MARCH 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging the participation of all faiths to affirm the unity of reason and religion, to imbue society with genuine values and to build an authentically human culture.
The Pope said this today in an address to Muslim leaders of Cameroon in the Yaoundé apostolic nunciature.
He acknowledged that the meeting was “is a vivid sign of the desire we share with all people of good will — in Cameroon, throughout Africa and across the globe — to seek opportunities to exchange ideas about how religion makes an essential contribution to our understanding of culture and the world, and to the peaceful coexistence of all the members of the human family.”
The Pontiff noted that both Christians and Muslims “believe in one, merciful God who on the last day will judge mankind.”
“Together,” he affirmed, “they bear witness to the fundamental values of family, social responsibility, obedience to God’s law and loving concern for the sick and suffering.”
He added, “By patterning their lives on these virtues and teaching them to the young, Christians and Muslims not only show how they foster the full development of the human person, but also how they forge bonds of solidarity with one’s neighbors and advance the common good.”
The Holy Father underlined the “urgent task of religion today,” to “unveil the vast potential of human reason, which is itself God’s gift and which is elevated by revelation and faith.”
He continued: “We are called to help others see the subtle traces and mysterious presence of God in the world which he has marvelously created and continually sustains with his ineffable and all-embracing love.
“Although his infinite glory can never be directly grasped by our finite minds in this life, we nonetheless catch glimpses of it in the beauty that surrounds us.
“When men and women allow the magnificent order of the world and the splendor of human dignity to illumine their minds, they discover that what is ‘reasonable’ […] includes the goodness and innate attractiveness of upright and ethical living made known to us in the very language of creation.
Benedict XVI noted that this recognition “prompts us to seek all that is right and just,” and “act for the good of others.”
Thus, he said, genuine religion “rejects all forms of violence and totalitarianism: not only on principles of faith, but also of right reason.”
He added that “religion and reason mutually reinforce one another since religion is purified and structured by reason, and reason’s full potential is unleashed by revelation and faith.”
The Pope encouraged his “dear Muslim friends” to “imbue society with the values that emerge from this perspective and elevate human culture, as we work together to build a civilization of love.”
He expressed a prayer that “the enthusiastic cooperation of Muslims, Catholics and other Christians in Cameroon” will inspire “other African nations of the enormous potential of an interreligious commitment to peace, justice and the common good.”
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