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Vatican May Reach Out to Other
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican is exploring whether to expand its
Catholic-Jewish dialogue to include Muslims, although talks are at a
very initial stage, a Vatican official said Friday.
Monsignor Michael Fitzgerald, who heads the Vatican's office for
interreligious dialogue, made the comments after the World Jewish
Congress said its chairman, Rabbi Israel Singer, had discussed the
initiative with Fitzgerald and other high-ranking Vatican officials
during a visit to Rome.
|The Vatican is exploring
whether to expand its Catholic-Jewish dialogue to include
The main point of the talks was to intensify the Vatican's official
dialogue with Jews, but they also included "specific possibilities to
expand interfaith talks to also include representatives from the Islamic
faith," the WJC said in a statement.
Details on establishing a "trialogue" would be discussed in future
meetings, the statement said.
"It is important to enter into discussions with the third 'Abrahamic
child' - Islam," Singer said in the statement. "No one in the meetings
has underestimated the difficulties in bringing about a meaningful
dialogue. But we all agreed that the principle of mutual respect can
override differences that exist between the religions."
Fitzgerald said he met with Singer on Thursday and that they discussed
"the various meetings taking place between Jews, Christians and
Muslims," including the trialogue suggestion.
"We examined the possibility in doing something in this line,"
Fitzgerald said. But he stressed Thursday's encounter with Singer was
"just an exploratory meeting."
Pope Benedict XVI has tried to reach out to Muslims, and he met with
Muslim representatives during his visit to Cologne, Germany, in August.
He has also made improving relations Jews a priority of his pontificate,
continuing the groundbreaking work of predecessor John Paul II. The
Vatican has an office that deals specifically with relations with Jews,
whom John Paul once called the "older brothers" of Christians.
During the Cologne trip, Benedict became the second pope in history to
enter a synagogue.
The World Jewish Congress is an international federation that represents
Jewish communities around the world.