WASHINGTON (September 20, 2006)—Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement today:
"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops enthusiastically supports the call for dialogue made by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his audience message today, Wednesday, September 20. This call includes dialogue between the Christian faith and the modern world and between all cultures and religions.
"Given the circumstances of the last week, it is clear that dialogue is essential between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue in which we respect, in the words of the Holy Father, 'what is sacred for others.'
"In the United States, the bishops are participating in such a dialogue. We recognize, with Pope Benedict, that Catholics and Muslims `worship the one God.' Because of the events of the last five years, this dialogue is especially urgent so that Christians and Muslims are able to work together to promote 'peace, liberty, social justice and moral values for the benefit of all humanity,' as Pope Benedict has said.
"We hope that the context of the talk which the Holy Father gave last week at the University of Regensburg in Germany, in which he described the right relationship between faith and reason, will be understood fully and correctly. That is, as the Holy Father said during his Angelus of Sunday, September 17, it is a talk 'which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.'
"It is this attitude of the Holy Father that deserves the world's attention rather than the centuries-old words of another which express a point of view that we cannot deny existed but which no longer motivates the authentic Christian."