VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant peoples, the theme of which is: "Migration and mobility from and to countries with a Muslim majority."
The Pope highlighted the Catholic Church's awareness of the fact that "inter-religious dialogue is part of her commitment to serve humanity in the modern world." In our time, "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."
After stressing the importance of reciprocity in dialogue, Benedict XVI praised the efforts being made "to create, with immigrants, relations of mutual knowledge and respect, which are extremely useful in overcoming prejudices and closed minds."
"In this activity of welcome and dialogue with migrants and itinerant peoples, the Christian community has as its constant point of reference Christ Who left His disciples, as a rule for life, the new commandment to love." For this reason, the Pope added, "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," the Pope continued, "must particularly open their hearts to the lowliest and the poorest, in whom Christ Himself is especially present. ... Obviously, it is to be hoped that Christians emigrating to countries with Muslim majorities, find there welcome and respect for their religious identity."
In closing his address, the Holy Father thanked the dicastery for their efforts in favor of "an organic and effective form of pastoral care for migrants and itinerant peoples. ... No one should doubt that this is an important frontier in the new evangelization of the modern globalized world."
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