Cardinal Francis ARINZE 
(President of the Pontifical Council
for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican City)

a) Relations with Muslims

It is important that the diocese or group of dioceses in any given area should have a clear picture of the presence of Muslims in its midst. Aspects such as the following need clarification: types of Islam present in the area, degree of foreign influence, numerical strength of Muslims, and state of Christian-Muslim relations.

Catholics, especially their leaders, need information and formation in order to improve relations with Muslims. Commissions are needed for the promotion of Christian-Muslim relations at various levels: diocesan, national and regional. While Institutes such as the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome remain important, the time has come to consider setting up a special Catholic Centre for Islamic Studies in Africa.

Nothing can replace personal action taken by Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful to meet Muslims, especially their leaders, in each country in order to maintain.

b) Relations with followers of African Traditional Religion

In areas where African Traditional Religion has been influential, this religion has to be taken into serious consideration if we want to have deeper evangelisation. Ways should be found to publish works produced on this topic. The Catholic higher institutes, faculties and universities in Africa have an important role. Ecumenical co-operation, where possible, is to be encouraged. The groups known as the African Independent Churches can offer some points for reflection.

c) Relations with the Sects

A truly inculturated Christianity, a Christian approach to sickness and healing in Africa, popular religiosity rightly understood and promoted, a living liturgy and a dynamic Catholic local community are all elements of the indicated pastoral answer to the challenge of the sects.

Original text: English


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