VATICAN CITY, 19 MAR 2009 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, Solemnity of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church and the Holy Father's own name day, Benedict XVI met with a group of representatives from the Muslim community of Cameroon, at the apostolic nunciature in Yaounde.
In his comments the Holy Father noted how "Cameroon is home to thousands of Christians and Muslims, who often live, work and worship in the same neighbourhood".
"I believe", he went on, "a particularly urgent task of religion today is to unveil the vast potential of human reason, which is itself God's gift and which is elevated by revelation and faith. Belief in the one God, far from stunting our capacity to understand ourselves and the world, broadens it".
"Although [God's] infinite glory can never be directly grasped by our finite minds in this life, we nonetheless catch glimpses of it in the beauty that surrounds us. When men and women allow the magnificent order of the world and the splendour of human dignity to illumine their minds, they discover that what is 'reasonable' extends far beyond what mathematics can calculate, logic can deduce and scientific experimentation can demonstrate; it includes the goodness and innate attractiveness of upright and ethical living made known to us in the very language of creation.
"This insight", he added, "prompts us to seek all that is right and just, to step outside the restricted sphere of our own self-interest and act for the good of others. Genuine religion thus widens the horizon of human understanding and stands at the base of any authentically human culture. It rejects all forms of violence and totalitarianism: not only on principles of faith, but also of right reason. Indeed, religion and reason mutually reinforce one another since religion is purified and structured by reason, and reason's full potential is unleashed by revelation and faith".
Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by encouraging his Muslim hearers "to imbue society with the values that emerge from this perspective and elevate human culture, as we work together to build a civilisation of love. May the enthusiastic co-operation of Muslims, Catholics and other Christians in Cameroon be a beacon to other African nations of the enormous potential of an inter-religious commitment to peace, justice and the common good!"