The Vatican plans to respond positively and very soon to an appeal by Muslim scholars for an unprecedented dialogue between Christianity and Islam, Roman Catholic cardinals and Islam experts say.
The Catholic Church, representing more than half the world's two billion Christians, has not yet officially answered the call made last month and hailed by most other Christian leaders.
But cardinals in Rome and Vatican officials told Reuters many Catholic leaders wanted a serious dialogue with Muslim leaders to help overcome misunderstandings.
"The Vatican will respond positively, and quite soon," said Dakar Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, whose homeland Senegal is 95 percent Muslim. "We will not miss this opportunity."
"Watch out for this week," said a veteran cardinal, who asked not to be named. The prelates were in Rome for a ceremony to install 23 new members of the College of Cardinals.
Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois said a serious and broad Christian-Muslim dialogue would help inter-faith relations in France, which has Europe's largest Muslim minority. (MORE)