from TRU News:
Vatican Radio is reporting that Bishop Miguel Guixot, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, will meet senior officials of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo Wednesday, 13 July. The visit comes at the express wish of Pope Francis following his historic meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Prof. Ahmad Al-Tayyib in the Vatican 23 May 2016.
In a note, the Council for Interreligious Dialogue said Bishop Guixot will take part in a preliminary meeting together with the Holy See’s Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, Archbishop Bruno Musarò and Dr. Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzouk, member of the Council of Senior Scholars of Al-Azhar University and the university’s Director of the Center for Dialogue, to explore avenues for the resumption of dialogue between Al-Azhar and the Pontifical Council.
A note from the Vatican Press Office reported that in the interview, the Imam affirmed that his visit, the first paid to the Vatican by the highest representative of Al-Alzhar, was the result of an Al-Azhar initiative and an agreement between Al-Azhar and the Vatican to continue the holy mission of religions, which consists of “making human beings joyful everywhere”. He added that Al-Azhar has a commission for interreligious dialogue with the Vatican, which was suspended in specific circumstances, but now those circumstances no longer exist, the path of dialogue has resumed in the hope that it will be better than before.
“I am happy to be the first Sheikh of Al-Azhar to visit the Vatican and to sit alongside the Pope in an encounter of discussion and understanding”, emphasised Professor Ahmad Al-Tayyib, revealing that his first impression of the Holy Father was that “he is a man of peace, a man who follows the teaching of Christianity, which is a religion of love and peace, and following His Holiness we have seen that he is a man who respects other religions and shows consideration for their followers; he is man who also consecrates his life to serve the poor and the destitute, and who takes responsibility for people in general; he is an ascetic man, who has renounced the ephemeral pleasures of worldly life. All these are qualities that we share with him, and therefore we wish to encounter this man in order to work together for humanity in this vast field we have in common.”
With reference to the duties of the great religious authorities and religious leaders in today’s world, he affirmed that these responsibilities are heavy and grave at the same time,
“because we are aware, as we said also to His Holiness, that all the philosophies and modern social ideologies that have taken the lead of humanity, far from religion and far from heaven, have failed to make man happy or to take him far from wars and bloodshed.” He remarked that the moment has arrived for the representatives of the divine religions to participate strongly and in a concrete way to give humanity a new direction, towards mercy and peace, so that humanity can avoid the great crisis we are suffering now. “Man without religion constitutes a danger to his fellow man, and I believe that people now, in the twenty-first century, have started to look around and to seek out wise guides to lead them in the right direction. All this has led us to this meeting and this discussion, and to the agreement to begin to take a step in the right direction.”
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