On the occasion of his encounter with representatives of Muslim communities in Germany on 20 August 2005, Pope Benedict XVI re-emphasised that "interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an occasional option. It is in fact a vital necessity, and our future depends to a great extent upon it".
Here the Pope was re-stating a personal conviction about interreligious dialogue which he had espoused some years before in his celebrated volume entitled Das neue Volk Gottes. Entwürfe zur Ekklesiologie (The new people of God). In this work the theologian Joseph Ratzinger had maintained: " it has become an integral part of our faith today that Christianity should have relations with the religions of the world: this is far from being a matter of a mere curiosity that is solely interested in constructing some theory of its own about the destiny of others this destiny is decided by God alone, who does not need our theories