Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis reaches out to other religions

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Vatican City, March 20 - Pope Francis reached out
to other religions and Christian Churches Wednesday, telling
visiting leaders in the Vatican he was "determined" to pursue
dialogue with them in respect and friendship.
He also said the Catholic Church should be "close" to those
who did not have believe in God.
"The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of
promoting friendship and respect between men and women of
different religious traditions," Pope Francis said not once, but
twice, in order to underline its importance.
"I confirm as of now my determination to continue on the
path of ecumenical dialogue," Francis continued.
He added that unity among Christians is "the first and
foremost of our concerns, one of the basic requirements for our
Christian testimony to be credible" to those on the fringes or
outside the church.
Francis referred to the Second Vatican Council and "the
words of the blessed Pope John XXIII" who in his inaugural
discourse cited Jesus Christ's "ardent prayer" to God for unity
before crucifixion.
The pope added: "Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
we all feel intimately united" in Christ's prayer at the Last
Supper 'ut unum snit', that the religion be one.
The pope also addressed Jewish leaders specifically,
underlining the "extremely special spiritual bond" that ties
Christians and Jews.
Pope Francis said he would continue the "Year of Faith", an
initiative initiated by "my venerated predecessor Benedict XVI
with truly inspired intuition".
Continuing his stance as defender of the poor and the weak,
Francis added that he was "aware of the responsibility that we
all bring to our world, toward all of creation, that we must
love and protect. And we can do much for the good of those who
are poor, those who are weak, for those who suffer, to favor
justice, to promote reconciliation, to build peace".
Francis greeted the archbishop of Constantinople by
saluting the apostle St. Andrew, founder of the Church of
Byzantium and patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople, located in modern Turkey.
"I thank my brother Andrew from the heart," Pope Francis
told Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
According to Orthodox Christian tradition, St. Andrew was
the brother of St. Peter, who founded the Roman Catholic Church.
Greeting and thanking Muslims for their love of God, he
told attendees that he appreciated "Muslims who worship God as
living and merciful, and whom you call upon in prayer, all of
you".
At the end of the meeting, the pope gave a long handshake to
the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni.
"I trust we can continue our fruitful dialogue," he told
him.
Francis also showed his concern to try to win back the many
people who have fallen away from the Catholic Church in Europe
and other parts of the developed world.
He said the Church should try to support the faithless, as
well as people who believe in God.
"We should be close to men and women who, while not seeing
themselves as belonging to any traditional religion, are in
search of truth, goodness and beauty, which is the truth,
goodness and beauty of God," Francis said.

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