PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
III Catholic Muslim SUMMIT
by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
Respected Bishop Chane,
Your Royal Highness,
Respected Ayatollah Damad,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to Rome! My first and foremost thought as I address you is one of gratitude to God, the Almighty and All-loving Who, in His caring Providence, grants us the opportunity to meet with each another and to know one another more or for the first time. In Him, as believers, we find strength, light, peace and joy.
I have been asked to serve this Summit as its Host Principal. It is therefore in this capacity that I welcome the leaders and participants of each delegation: the Sunni, the Shiite and, surely, the Anglican Episcopal one.
I also wish to welcome the guests of honor: His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, who represents the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, representative of Judaism, and His Eminence Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. A warm welcome with a sense of gratitude goes especially to Mrs. Amy Goldman who, together with others, generously contributed to the finances of this event.
The Steering Group, composed of Canon Peterson from the Anglican Communion, Mons. Roberto Vitillo, Head of the Delegation of Caritas Internationalis in Geneva, and Mons. Khaled Akasheh, Bureau Chief for Islam at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, worked hard for the preparation and the organization of this Summit. The staff of Il Cantico is doing all their best to make our stay here comfortable. To all these persons and to all those who have worked and are still working with generosity and in silence, our heartfelt thanks.
We are gathered in Rome, the heart of Catholic Christianity and one of the most significant cities, as per its history, with its monuments and particularly of spirituality. All this means that Rome has a mission as well, the mission of universality, in other words, Catholicity. In this context, I do hope that we will be able to realize the expectations of Pope Francis who encourages us to be men and women of dialogue, dedicated to the promotion of peace and fraternity and the eradication of hunger and poverty in the world.
May God help us to be messengers of peace and fraternity, especially through the acceptance of all persons, as our brothers and sisters!