Benedict XVI, noting the growing phenomenon of migrations into and out of predominantly Islamic countries, insisted on the importance of the principle of reciprocity.
Such reciprocity consists of "a relationship founded in reciprocal respect and, above all, of an attitude of heart and spirit," the Pope said.
According to this principle, Christians are called to welcome immigrants of Islamic religion "with open arms" and they expect that "Christians who emigrate to countries of Islamic majority will find hospitality and respect for their religious identity," the Holy Father added.
He addressed this issue today in an address to participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, which is reflecting on the topic of migration and Islamic countries.
Benedict XVI acknowledged that "the mobility that affects Muslim countries merits a specific reflection, not only because of the quantitative importance of the phenomenon, but above all because the Islamic is an identity characteristic both from the religious as well as the cultural point of view."
In this context, the Pope "highlighted the Catholic Church's awareness of the fact that 'interreligious dialogue is part of her commitment to serve humanity in the modern world.'"
"We are living at a time when Christians are called to cultivate a form of open dialogue on religious problems, not renouncing the presentation … of the Christian message in keeping with their own identity," he said.
Attitude of heart
Explaining the principle of reciprocity, the Pontiff quoted the pontifical council's 2004 instruction "Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi."
The document defines reciprocity "not merely as an attitude for making claims but as a relationship based on mutual respect and on justice in juridical and religious matters."
"Reciprocity is also an attitude of heart and spirit that enables us to live together everywhere with equal rights and duties," states the instruction.
"Healthy reciprocity will urge each one to become an 'advocate' for the rights of minorities when his or her own religious community is in the majority," states No. 64 of the text.
In this context, the Pope reminded Christians of the commandment of love that Christ left them, according to which "believers are called to open their arms and hearts to everyone, whatever their country of origin, leaving the task of formulating appropriate laws for promoting healthy coexistence to those responsible for public life."
"Christians must particularly open their hearts to the lowliest and the poorest, in whom Christ himself is especially present," continued the Holy Father.
In virtue of reciprocity, he added, "it is to be hoped that Christians emigrating to countries with Muslim majorities, find there welcome and respect for their religious identity."
Monday, May 15, 2006
... seems to be the new buzzword in the Vatican when it comes to dealing with Muslim nations. Here is the Zenit story on the Pope's address to the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.