Pope Francis: God desires solidarity among Catholics and Muslims

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2019 / 06:33 am (CNA).- Reflecting upon his recent apostolic journey to Morocco, Pope Francis said Wednesday that God desires a greater sense of fraternity among Catholics and Muslims as “brother children of Abraham.”

“Some may ask, ‘But why does the pope visit the Muslims and not only the Catholics?’” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square April 3.

“With Muslims, we are descendants of the same father, Abraham,” he said. “What God wants is fraternity between us in a special way,” he added, noting that this was the motive behind his travels.

Pope Francis offered thanks to God that his trip to the Moroccan capital of Rabat March 30-31 was “another step on the path of dialogue and encounter with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

“My pilgrimage has followed in the footsteps of two saints: Francis of Assisi and John Paul II,” he explained.

“Eight hundred years ago Francis brought the message of peace and fraternity to the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil, and  in 1985 Pope Wojtyła made his memorable visit to Morocco, having received at the Vatican – first among the Muslim heads of state – King Hassan II,” he said.

On his first day in Morocco, Pope Francis signed an “Appeal for Jerusalem,” with the Moroccan King Mohammed VI. The joint-declaration called for Jerusalem to be preserved as a “peaceful place of meeting for the three monotheistic religions,” the pope explained.

Religions have the essential role of “defending human dignity and promoting peace, justice and care for creation, that is our home common,” Francis said.

The pope also visited a training institute for imams and Muslim leaders in during his trip. The institute “promotes an Islam that is respectful of other religions and rejects violence and fundamentalism,” Francis said.

Morocco is more than 99% Sunni Muslim with Catholics amounting to less than 0.1% of the 35.74 million population, according to the State Department.

“Why does God allow so many religions?” Pope Francis asked at his general audience following the trip.“Scholastic theologians referred to the ‘permissive will’ of God. He willed to permit this reality: that there are many religions,” he said.

Pope Francis said that Catholics and Muslims must not be afraid of differences because God has allowed this, but “we must be frightened if we do not work in fraternity, to walk together in life.”

“Serving hope, in a time like ours, means first of all building bridges between civilizations,” he said.


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  1. Yes, of course and sincerely, to solidarity, encounter,and dialogue…but fraternity between street-level Muslims (the followers of Islam) and individual Christians (the witnesses to Christ) is one thing, but isn’t it still another–any pluralist(?) and one-world equivalence between the religious belief of Islam and faith in the person of Christ?

    The Koran is held to be timeless, from before time and the very essence of Allah. There is only the oneness of Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. The distant God is the one and all-engulfing “autonomy.”

    To consider a civilization tuned-in to the Triune nature of this one God, or to admit to any other “autonomy” such as the gifted and fully human “person” is blasphemy. Likewise, the distinction between mosque and state (Shari’a). Adjustments around the edges, maybe, as Pope Francis detects in Morocco and hopes to expand. But that’s a side story. The unmentioned Pope Benedict had the same hope for Turkey back in 2007.

    The whole thing about history and growth and flourishing through time–the fully human mystery as revealed in the Incarnation (two natures in the one “person” of Christ)—is simply off the table, ultimately, as an apostasy from the original, non-historical, monotheistic (monolithic !) and engulfing Islam.

    The Aquinas of Faith-and-Reason, for example, is nothing to Islam. And so too is the Western affirmation of elevated mankind and of his history, even when not so betrayed and decadent as now in the secular West.

    If even Christianity decides to go chameleon in these chaotic and syncretic times (melded civilizations?), then are we not on the front edge of a new and long ice age in human history? Europe–rooted very much in the historical and incarnate “encounter” (!) between God and Man–fades as a flash in the pan.

    Fraternity, yes, even under the wraparound global ethic of “creation”, but as for the perennial Church which is distinctly more than Abrahamic alone, quo vadis? May the intended bridge between civilizations be well-lighted.

  2. For an accurate summary of what Islam/the Koran teaches and believes feel free to Google the various essays of Fr. James Schall, S.J..

  3. “Why does God allow so many religions?” Pope Francis asked at his general audience following the trip.“Scholastic theologians referred to the ‘permissive will’ of God. He willed to permit this reality: that there are many religions,” he said.

    That is not exactly an explanation, unless the pope is admitting that the plurality of religions is actually an evil that is counter to His active will.

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