In the annual message from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue to Muslims on the occasion of the end of “Id Al-Fitr”, the feast that concludes the month of Ramadan, the Vatican called on Muslims around the world to cooperate in building peace.
The message, entitled, “Constructing peace today,” was published in French, English and Italian and is signed by the president of the council, Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald.
This year Archbishop Fitzgerald considers the encyclical by Pope John XXIII “Pacem in terris,” in which the pope refers to peace as “an edifice resting on four pillars: truth, justice, love and freedom.”
“Truth is the first pillar,” affirms the council’s president, “for it includes the recognition that human beings are not their own masters, but are called the fulfill the will of God.” “Truth moreover brings each individual to acknowledge his or her own rights, but also to recognize his or her own duties towards others.”
“Yet peace cannot exist without justice,” he continues, “respect for the dignity and rights of each human person. It is the lack of justice, in individual, social and international relations that causes so much unrest in our world today, and brings about violence.”
Referring to love, he emphasizes that it “implies the ability to recognize that we all belong to one human family.”
Speaking about forgiveness, he says, “is essential to the restoration of peace when conflict has broken out, for it opens up the possibility of beginning again, on a new basis, in a restored relationship. All this supposes freedom (which allows) people to act according to reason and to assume responsibility for their own actions.”
The president of the council goes on to say that to the four pillars he would add prayer. He recalls what the Pope says: “Prayer is not a form of escapism. On the contrary, it allows us to face up to reality with a strength which comes from God.”
At the end of the message, Archbishop Fitzgerald invokes God’s blessing on all Muslims and their families and asks that “this blessing be a source of comfort in particular for those who have suffered, or who are still suffering, on account of armed conflict. May the Good God give all of us the strength to be true constructors of peace.”