The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
sends, every year, a message to the Islamic community on the occasion of the month of Ramadan and 'Id al-Fitr, the feast that concludes it. The Catholic Church in Melbourne also extends its good wishes to our Muslim brothers and sisters as it concludes the month of Ramadan, a time for spiritual healing and growth, of sharing with the poor, of strengthening bonds with relatives and friends.
Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,
On behalf of the Most Reverend Peter A Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, together with the Catholic Community in Melbourne, I would like to take the occasion of ‘Eid al-Fitr to wish you a peaceful and fruitful conclusion to the celebration of Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan is a time for spiritual healing and growth, of sharing with the poor, of strengthening bonds with relatives and friends.
Although COVID-19 and its social distancing does constrain all of us from sharing the actual Iftar, the 1441H/2020AD Ramadan, while so different this year, remains a month for strengthening the bonds we share in Muslim-Christian friendship especially in Melbourne.
This year, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue invites us to follow our cherished traditions in working together to protect places of worship. It notes that places of worship are also “spaces for spiritual hospitality”, where believers of other religions also join for some special ceremonies like weddings, funerals, feasts, etc. In the context of recent attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues by misguided persons, it is worth noting what the document on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad Al-Tayybe (4 February 2019) said: “The protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international agreements. Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction, is a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law ... .”
In order to respect diversity, dialogue must seek to promote every person’s right to life, to physical integrity, and to fundamental freedoms. This includes the working together to protect the places of worship and to live according to one’s beliefs in both the private and public spheres. In this way, Christians and Muslims – as sisters and brothers – can work together for the common good.
We convey renewed esteem and fraternal greetings with friendly wishes for a joyous ‘Eid al-Fitr.
Very Reverend Denis Stanley,
Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations