The document states: Prudently and lovingly through dialogue and collaboration with the follower of other religions, and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men, as well as the values in their society and culture"
During the Council, the Council Fathers stressed that we are all brothers and sisters, with common hopes and fears, struggles and concerns. We have come from the same God and will return to that same God at the end of life. The Council encouraged us to take to heart the concerns of the world and its peoples, working to promote unity and love among all people and nations.
The document on the Churches Relationship with Other Faiths was originally planned as a statement on the Church’s relationship with the Jewish People, with whom we share a common origin. The Church Fathers, however, felt that this discussion should be extended to other world faiths including Islam. The document states how the Church holds Muslims in esteem. I quote " Upon the Muslims the Church looks with esteem. They adore the one God, living and enduring, merciful and all powerful Maker of heaven and earth and Speaker to men.
They strive to submit wholeheartedly even to His inscrutable decrees just as did Abraham.......They await the Day of Judgement when God will give each man his due after raising him up. Consequently they prize the moral life and give worship to God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
The document goes on to say :
Although in the course of centuries many quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Muslims this most sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to strive sincerely for mutual understanding. On behalf of all mankind let them make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom.
This we have been trying to do through the work of interreligious dialogue at international and national level. There is a Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican and those of you from the major world faiths will have received greetings from it on your special festivals. Almost every country in the world has a Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, as we do here in Scotland. Part of our work is to educate Catholics in the importance of good interfaith relations and encourage them to participate in initiatives such as Scottish Interfaith Week.
However, we have to acknowledge painfully ongoing hostilities in the Middle East in which Christians have been caught up, as well as their neighbours, Muslims, Kurds or minority groups of other religions in what appears to be power struggles for domination in the region.
The great blasphemy is on the part of those who claim to act in God's name and who justify their barbarous acts as the just deserts of those who do not share their faith or their cause.
Attempts to force conversions as a condition for staying in the land which for centuries they have counted as their home is utterly appalling and contrary to the universally acknowledged rights of men and women. We cannot turn a blind eye to what is all too readily seen by means of modern global communications, nor a deaf ear to the cries of the poor.
At the heart of all genuine religion, and notable in our own, is the call to justice and compassion. While the example of our own respect for one another and our peaceable intentions carry their own powerful message, it is incumbent on all of us to call on our co-religionists to desist from actions, however, motivated, which offend not only against human dignity but also against the holiness of God.
Interreligious Dialogue is now an essential part of our faith and our mission. We are committed to it and to furthering the vision of Our Holy Father Pope Francis who calls us to show respect for the religion of our neighbours, to seek to share their joys and their sorrows so that sincere and lasting friendship can grow between us. It is in this hope that I have been privileged to speak to you this evening.