Pope Benedict XVI on Friday urged Catholics in his native Germany to hold open dialogue about faith with Muslims living there.
The pope, speaking to German bishops during an audience at the Vatican, stressed that Catholics engaging in such a dialogue should have language skills and adequate education in Church history.
"We Christians need not be afraid of a spiritual dialogue with society," said Benedict. "This is also true for our relations with those who belong to other religions, especially with the many Muslims who live in Germany and toward whom we relate with respect and benevolence."
Benedict said that Muslims, "who remain attached to their convictions and rites with great seriousness, have a right to our humble and determined witness of Jesus Christ."
But, he said, "to offer this witness in a credible manner, obviously we need great commitment."
Germany has more than 3 million Muslims, most of them from Turkey.
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