Pope Francis has sent a message to Islamic world, calling for mutual respect between Christians and Muslims.
The Pope’s message, released by the Vatican on August 2, is timed for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Since 1967, the Vatican has issued an annual greeting to the world’s Muslims on that date.
Ordinarily the Vatican message is released by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. But Pope Francis said that he chose to convey the greetings personally in this, the first year of his pontificate. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, confirmed that this year’s message was the Pope’s “personal initiative.”
Addressing Muslims as his “dear friends,” and making his appeal especially to Islam’s religious leaders, the Pope calls for education to promote mutual respect. He defines those terms explicitly:
“Respect” means an attitude of kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and esteem. “Mutual” means that this is not a one-way process, but something shared by both sides.