Pope in Morocco: dialogue between faiths to reject intolerance and violence in the name of God
In his first speech in Rabat Francis speaks of brotherhood between Christians and Muslims. "Itis vital to foster the culture of dialogue and adhere to it unfailingly, to adopt mutual cooperation as our code of conduct and reciprocal understanding as our method and standard". "A change in disposition towards migrants, that affirms them as people".
Rabat (AsiaNews) - Dialogue between Christians and Muslims to affirm coexistence and reject intolerance and violence in the name of God, openness towards and protection of those forced to leave their land and also the defense of nature. These are the objectives that Pope Francis is proposing in his visit to Morocco, which began today, voiced at the first meeting of Francis with King Mohammed VI, the country's authorities, representatives of civil society, the diplomatic corps accredited in the country and the Moroccan people.
The welcome ceremony took place on the esplanade of the Tour Hassan in Rabat. The Pope, who arrived shortly after 2 pm, was greeted at the airport by an unusual rainfall, as well as by King Mohammed VI. The welcome ceremony, with hymns, military honors and presentation of the delegations took place shortly afterwards in the city.
The second Pope to visit Morocco, 34 years after the historic speech of John Paul II in Casablanca, Francis naturally brought interreligious dialogue to the fore, also with express references to the Document on human fraternity, which he signed in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019 together with the rector of the University of Al-Azhar, Muḥammad Aḥmad al-Tayyib, considered the most authoritative exponent of Sunni Islam. The king himself, however, in his greeting affirmed the need for dialogue, tolerance and respect between people of different faiths.
Francis, who defined Morocco as a "natural bridge between Africa and Europe", said that to build a more solidary world ", it is vital to foster the culture of dialogue and adhere to it unfailingly, to adopt mutual cooperation as our code of conduct and reciprocal understanding as our method and standard (cf. Document on Human Fraternity, Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019). We are called to pursue this path tirelessly, in the effort to help each other overcome tensions and misunderstandings, clichés and stereotypes that generate fear and opposition. In this way, we will encourage the growth of a fruitful and respectful spirit of cooperation. It is likewise essential that fanaticism and extremism be countered by solidarity on the part of all believers, grounded in the lofty shared values that inspire our actions. For this reason, I am happy that I will shortly visit the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Morchidines and Morchidates. Established by Your Majesty, the Institute seeks to provide effective and sound training to combat all forms of extremism, which so often lead to violence and terrorism, and which, in any event, constitute an offense against religion and against God himself.”
“Authentic dialogue, then, makes us appreciate more fully the importance of religion for building bridges between people and successfully meeting the challenges that I mentioned above. While respecting our differences, faith in God leads us to acknowledge the eminent dignity of each human being, as well as his or her inalienable rights. We believe that God created human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and he calls them to live as brothers and sisters and to spread the values of goodness, love and peace. That is why freedom of conscience and religious freedom – which is not limited to freedom of worship alone, but allows all to live in accordance with their religious convictions – are inseparably linked to human dignity. In this regard, there is a constant need to progress beyond mere tolerance to respect and esteem for others. This entails encountering and accepting others in their distinctive religious beliefs and enriching one another through our diversity, in a relationship marked by good will and by the pursuit of ways we can work together. Understood in this way, creating bridges between people – from the point of view of interreligious dialogue – calls for a spirit of mutual regard, friendship and indeed fraternity.”
Francis, who this morning met two families of Moroccan emigrants at the Vatican, recalled in the Rabat speech that the Intergovernmental Conference on the World Pact was held in Morocco for a safe, orderly and regular migration that “adopted a document intended to serve as a point of reference for the entire international community. At the same time, much still remains to be done, especially in passing from the commitments undertaken there, at least in principle, to concrete actions, and, more particularly, to a change of attitude towards migrants, one that sees them as persons, not numbers, and acknowledges their rights and dignity in daily life and in political decisions.”
The last theme addressed by the Pope was the protection of nature.“The genuine dialogue we want to encourage also leads to a consideration of the world in which we live, our common home. The International Conference on Climate Change, COP 22, also held here in Morocco, once more demonstrated that many nations are conscious of the need to protect this planet where God has placed us to live and to contribute to a true ecological conversion for the sake of integral human development. I express my appreciation for the progress being made in this area and I am gratified by the growth of authentic solidarity between nations and peoples in the effort to find just and lasting solutions to the scourges that threaten our common home and the very survival of the human family. Only together, in patient, judicious, candid and sincere dialogue, can we hope to devise adequate solutions for reversing the trend of global warming and to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty (cf. Laudato Si’, 175).”