Vatican City, Apr 29, 2004 / 22:00 pm
A formal request to share the Roman Catholic cathedral in Cordoba with the city’s Muslims was not advanced to the Catholic Church, said Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialog.
The archbishop confirmed this in an interview with AsiaNews after news broke that Spanish authorities suggested the cathedral be used also by Muslims in order to respect “the building’s universal value” and to show a Catholic Church that is “open and dialogical.” The Muslim community reportedly issued a formal request, but the archbishop confirmed that the Church never received such a request.
Archbishop Fitzgerald provided the context for the discussion by relating what took place at a Catholic-Muslim convention last March.
“Last March our council, together with the World Islamic Call Society … organized talks on the formation of priests and imams,” recounted the archbishop. “During the convention, Mr. Escudero of Cordoba presented a request in Spanish, with a letter written by the mayor of Cordoba, addressed to the head of the Muslim delegation, Dr. Sherif, and mentioned it was their wish to share the use of the cathedral,” he said. However, the topic was never discussed and a formal request was not made.