To promote dialogue and to offer prayerful solidarity, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, releases an annual message to the world’s Muslims for the month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr – the conclusion of Islam’s holy month.
This year’s message looks at our shared concern for the environment and our duty, as custodians, to protect it. It’s titled: “Christians and Muslims: Caring for our Common Home”.
This theme is closely related to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’– On Care for Our Common Home, which was addressed not only to Catholics and Christians, but to the whole of humanity. Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council, writes:
“Pope Francis draws attention to the harm our lifestyles and decisions are causing to the environment, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings. There are, for example, certain philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives that present obstacles which threaten humanity’s relationship with nature. To take up this challenge involves all of us, regardless of whether or not we profess a religious belief.
“The Encyclical’s title itself is expressive: the world is a “common home”, a dwelling for all the members of the human family. Therefore, no one person, nation or people can impose exclusively their understanding of our planet. This is why Pope Francis appeals ‘for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet… since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affects us all.’
Cardinal Tauran then emphasises that followers of both religions have a duty to protect creation and work for peace:
“Our vocation to be guardians of God’s handiwork is not optional, nor it is tangential to our religious commitment as Christians and Muslims: it is an essential part of it.
“May the religious insights and blessings that flow from fasting, prayer and good works sustain you, with God’s help, on the path of peace and goodness, to care for all the members of the human family and for the whole of creation.”
You can download the full text of the Vatican message and also some useful bidding prayers for marking non-Christian festivals.
Fr Damian Howard, now Superior of the Jesuit’s GB province, recorded a four-part podcast with us called ‘Understanding Islam’.