On Wednesday Pope Francis received dozens of leaders from other Christian denominations and from other faiths. For me, the most exciting: the first visit for a thousand years to a the Pope’s inauguration by the head of the Orthodox Church! This photo means so much – it is proof positive. I hope and pray they will both build on this into the future.
I really like some of the things Pope Francis said to them – looks like he’s setting out his stall for the future. To the Jewish leaders:
‘ And now I turn to you, distinguished representatives of the Jewish people, to whom we are bound by a very special spiritual bond, from the moment that, as the Second Vatican Council said, “thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that according to God’s saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets”.(Decree Nostra Aetate, 4). I thank you for your presence and trust that with the help of the Almighty, we can continue that fruitful fraternal dialogue that the Council wished for. And that it has actually achieved, bringing many fruits, especially during the last decades .’
To the Muslim leaders:
‘I greet and thank cordially all of you, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; firstly the Muslims, who worship the one living and merciful God, and call upon Him in prayer. I really appreciate your presence, and in it I see a tangible sign of the wish to grow in reciprocal trust and in cooperation for the common good of humanity.’….
‘The Church is equally aware of the responsibility that each of us bring towards our world, and to the whole of creation, that we must love and protect. And we can do a lot for the good of the less fortunate, for those who are weak and suffering, to promote justice, to promote reconciliation, to build peace. But above all, we must keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and must not allow the vision of the human person with a single dimension to prevail, according to which man is reduced to what he produces and to what he consumes: this is one of the most dangerous threats of our times…
Dear friends, thank you for your presence. To all, I offer my cordial and fraternal greetings.’
(the whole text can be found here:http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/03/20/pope_francis:_discourse_to_representatives_of_the_churches,_ecclesia/en1-675184 ) although it’s not a great translation!