Italian Diocese Urges Catholics to join Muslims for Prayers and Meals in Ramadan

An Italian diocese is instructing its priests to participate in Islamic rituals, citing Pope Francis’ directives on interreligious dialogue.

The Diocese of Bergamo issued a communiqué on Monday urging priests to seek out opportunities for interreligious dialogue during the “holy month” of Ramadan by invite the faithful to join in praying with Muslims and joining in the Iftar ritual meal.

The letter from the northern Italian diocese asks the faithful to pray for “a continuous realisation of all the dimensions that make up humanity desired by the Creator” and for “continuous growth in the dialogue between peoples and different faiths.”

Fr Massimo Rizzi, director of the diocese’s Office for Interreligious Dialogue who signed the directive, upset local Catholics for dating the letter according to the Islamic calendar (23 Sha’ban 1445).

Rizzi explained that Ramadan was “a strong time (for Muslims) to promote their religious practice” as well as a month of fasting and prayer and a time of feasting and sharing.

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