Message from
His Beatitude Msgr. Michael Sabbah
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem


His Beatitude Emeritus Patriarch Michael Sabbah

I see in this group of Muslim and Christian believers, who opted for the path of dialogue, an example to emulate and a religious necessity by which each believer strengthens his faith.

For each believer becomes more faithful to God when he believes in his fellow man. According to St. John’s First letter (4:20):

If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Each believer is in need of Al-Liqa’ Center’s programs, in order to adjust his path to God in light of the reality in which his fellow man lives, so as to know him and to serve him better.

By listening to others we pay tribute to God and by abasing others we depart from God’s commandment. On the other hand, ignorance of others is a diminution of God’s right and man’s right.

Dialog is one of the characteristics of the local church and of this country, given the great variety of its religious and cultural communities.

A land like ours, known throughout the centuries for its pluralism, must respect this characteristic if it wishes to remain faithful to itself. Fidelity to pluralism is expressed through dialogue. Otherwise, all of the interested parties are headed for suicide if they kill their one and only mother, that is to say, the land that nourishes them all and that embodies their common heritage.

Dialogue implies "seeing the other" as he is, with all that makes up his identity and personality, both individual and social, and with all of his religious and cultural ties. The first condition for all dialogue is to respect the personality of the order in its totality. A second condition consists in trying to know the other as he knows himself and judges himself, not through prejudices and historical or individual "a priori" that are tied to historical positions or that stem from an aggregate of present interest.  

            We have also observed in Al-Liqa’ programs the beginning of a Christian reflection on the role of the Christian, of the laity, and of the entire local church. On more than one occasion, we have asked to facilitate this reflection and to shed light on how the present circumstances can help mature one’s faith.

            I see in this dialogue a pressing necessity and one of the priorities that the local church must adopt. Likewise, it is one of the priorities that every nation must adopt if it wants to progress and flourish.

            I hope that Al-Liqa’ Center will carry its message across wherever it reaches, hoping that this program will find the hearts and minds that will support and guide it.