Muslim, Catholic leaders launch joint appeal to make post-coronavirus world 'a better place for fraternity than ever before'

Muslim, Catholic leaders launch joint appeal to make post-coronavirus world “a better place for fraternity than ever before”

(Source: CD/Vatican News)

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity is calling for women and men to pray to God for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

While recognising the role of science in fighting the disease, the Committee says, “we should not forget to seek refuge in God, the All-Creator, as we face such a severe crisis”.

In calling for worldwide prayer, the Committee says, “Each one, from wherever they are and according to the teachings of their religion, faith, or sect, should implore God to lift this pandemic off us and the entire world, to rescue us all from this adversity”.

Their call also emphasises the importance of asking God “to inspire scientists to find a cure that can turn back this disease, and to save the whole world from the health, economic, and human repercussions of this serious pandemic”.

A day for prayers and supplications

The Committee suggests Thursday, 14 May, as a day “for fasting, works of mercy, prayers, and supplications for the good of all humanity”.

In the communique launching their appeal, they call on “all religious leaders and peoples around the world to respond to this call for humanity and together beseech God Almighty to safeguard the entire world, to help us overcome this pandemic, to restore security, stability, healthiness, and prosperity, so that, after this pandemic is over, our world will become a better place for humanity and fraternity than ever before”.   

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The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was established last year as a concrete response to the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, during the Pope’s Apostolic Journey to the United Arab Emirates in February 2019.

As part of its mission to ensure the objectives of the [Document] are realised, the Committee meets with religious and other world leaders in order “to support and spread the values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence”.

As explained on its website, “the Higher Committee aspires to undertake complex challenges facing communities of all faiths, with an approach of openness, learning and dialogue”.

In message for Ramadan, Vatican deplores “blind and senseless violence” of attacks on places of worship

In the meantime, as Muslims celebrate the month of Ramadan, the Vatican is urging both Muslims and Christians to protect places of worship.

In a message released on Friday for Ramadan and the feast of Eid al-Fitr, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue recalls the centrality of this month for Muslims.

“It is a time for spiritual healing and growth, of sharing with the poor, of strengthening bonds with relatives and friends”, reads the message.

The Council wishes all Muslims “prayerful best wishes and hearty congratulations”.

Spaces of prayer

This year’s message focuses on places of worship. “For both Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques are spaces reserved for prayer, personal and communitarian alike. They are constructed and furnished in a way that favours silence, reflection and meditation”.

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As the prophet Isaiah says, they are “a house of prayer”.

The Council calls places of worship “spaces for spiritual hospitality” for special events like weddings, funerals, and community feasts.

“Such practice is a privileged witness to what unites believers, without diminishing or denying what distinguishes them”.

Sign of harmony

The Ramadan message also recalls the Document on Human Fraternity, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

It quotes a portion of the Document which states:

“Meeting one another in fraternal friendship in this place of prayer is a powerful sign, one that shows the harmony which religions can build together, based on personal relations and on the good will of those responsible.”

“Mutual esteem, respect and cooperation” for “sincere friendship”

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue then condemns recent attacks on churches, mosques, and synagogues “by wicked persons who seem to perceive the places of worship as a privileged target for their blind and senseless violence”.

International efforts to protect those places of worship are worthy of praise, reads the message.

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It also expresses the hope that “our mutual esteem, respect and cooperation will help strengthen the bonds of sincere friendship, and enable our communities to safeguard the places of worship to assure for coming generations the fundamental freedom to profess one’s own beliefs”.

Finally, the Council wishes all Muslims a “fruitful month of Ramadan and a joyous Eid al-Fitr”.

More on Novena on Vatician initiatives to promote human fraternity:

Vatican cardinal stresses ‘ABCs’ of interfaith dialogue: “Friendship, peace and living together”

Interfaith Abu Dhabi document on human fraternity bearing fruit in Croatia

Pope renews call to religions “to say ‘no’ to violence and together promote peace, life, and religious freedom”

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Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.