(AKI) - The sixth biannual meeting between representatives of the Vatican and Iran concluded on Wednesday with an agreement to boost cultural collaboration and strengthen dialogue between Islam and Christianity.
The Iranian delegation was led by Mehdi Mostafavi, an advisor to hardline Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the director of the Centre for Islamic Culture and Communication.
At the end of the three-day conference, Mostafavi met Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture - in effect, the Vatican's culture minister.
At the end of the meeting, Mostafavi told the Iranian news agency IRNA that the two sides had reached an agreement on a series of initiatives to strengthen dialogue between Islam and Christianity.
Among the suggestions listed by Mostafavi was the organisation of a meetings dedicated to theatre and cinema with religious content....
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: While Washington and Tehran rattle their sabers, the Vatican is quietly taking a different approach with the world's largest sponsor of radical Islam. The Church and Iran have been in negotiations for years on how to resolve the clash of civilizations with a peaceful settlement that promotes religious liberty and reciprocity.
It has been said that Christianity and Islam are "natural allies" in the common struggle against militant secularism and materialism. The Catholic Knight would add that there is a natural alliance between the two against the occult and New Age paganism. There is just one little catch. Most Islamic extremists want to kill us all. Therein lies the rub.
As it seems right now, the clash of civilizations is inevitable and already occurring. The road to World War III seems painfully obvious, laid out before us with no detour in sight. The message of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been consistent and clear. War is not an option. The Secular West must back away from "preemptive war" policies, while the Islamic East must prove it's willingness to enter the 21st century with reciprocity toward Christians living in their own lands.
The agreement between the Vatican and delegates from Iran serves as a modest starting point. Christians and Muslims can agree on some things, especially when it comes to social issues of public morality. Defaming depictions of religious figures on the silver screen is dehumanizing to all religious groups. Christians and Muslims can work together to stop this. Simultaneously, Christians and Muslims could work together to use cinema as a means of promoting public decency with uplifting moral messages, concerning such things as the sanctity of life, and the value of chastity. Yes, it's a modest start, but hey, it's better than nothing.