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Friday, November 5, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 5, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message for all Muslims at the end of Ramadan from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and council president, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald. The theme of the Message this year ('Id al-Fitr 1425 A.H./2004 A.D.) was "Children, Gift of God for the Future of Humanity."

  Following are excerpts from the Message, released in English, French and Italian:

  "At the earliest age possible you teach your children to observe this month of fasting, thus developing in them a sense of God and a spirit of religious obedience. … In this way the family is, par excellence, the place where your children receive their first religious education.

  "Today I would like to call attention to children in general and to the welcome they should receive, at different moments of their life, from their parents, their family and from society. Every child has an inalienable right to life and, in so far as this is possible, to be welcomed within a natural, stable family. All children have moreover the right to nourishment, clothing and protection, and furthermore to be educated."

  "You consider the child to be a blessing from God, in particular for the parents. As Christians we share with you this religious attitude, but our Christian faith teaches us also to discover in the child a model for our relationship with God."

  "On several occasions these last years representatives of the Holy See and of countries with a Muslim majority have defended together in international fora fundamental human values. It was often a matter of defending the rights of those who are the weakest, and notably the family as the natural environment in which children are nurtured and their rights are better preserved.

  "Although the child has benefited, … there are still many evils which cause suffering (child labor, sexual abuse, children conscripted for war, families that break up, drug use and abuse, trafficking in organs)."

  "Dear friends, we should unite our efforts, reminding people of the dignity of every human being whose existence is willed by God Himself. We should denounce untiringly everything that degrades the child, combating with all the force we can muster the "structures of sin", to use an expression taken up by Pope John Paul II. We are conscious that on the future of children depends the future of humanity."

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