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Saturday 1 April 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images
# Vatican
Pope wants better relations with Muslims and atheists
Pope Francis called for the Catholic Church to “intensify” dialogue with Islam.

POPE FRANCIS HAS called on the Catholic Church to “intensify” dialogue with Islam and non-believers.

Speaking to the Diplomatic Corps in the Vatican, the newly-installed pontiff said one of the roles that comes with the title is to be a “builder of bridges”.

“My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced.

“In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people.

“Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.”

He thanked the civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world who attended his inauguration Mass last week before reaching out to “non-believers”, stating it was important that the “differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail”.

“But rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.”

The audience of representatives from more than 180 countries also heard the Pope’s wish to begin “a journey” with those few countries (including China) that do not yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

Earlier, the Vatican announced the Pope will hold next week’s Holy Thursday service in a youth prison, where he will wash and kiss the feet of 12 prisoners.

Read: Nobel peace laureate says Pope Francis was not complicit in ‘Dirty War’

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