12/01/2014, 00.00
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Pope: Muslim leaders must condemn terrorism, the Koran is a book of peace

The meeting with reporters on the flight back from Turkey. " Our martyrs are shouting to us, we are one, we have a unity in the spirit and in blood". Patriarch Kirill of Moscow " I said, “but I will go where you wish, if you call me I will come”. And he has the same desire". Open to discussing the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Open to going to Iraq, but right now it’s not possible.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A condemnation of terrorism by Muslim leaders, the "ecumenism of blood" preceding that of theologians, willingness to meet with the Patriarch of Moscow wherever he wants, the desire to go to Iraq. These were among the many matters addressed by Pope Francis in response to questions from journalists yesterday, during the return flight from Turkey.

Vatican Radio reports that in response to a question about Islamophobia and Christianophobia the Pope said: "The Koran is a book of peace", "it would be good if all the Muslim leaders, be they political leaders, religious leaders, state clearly that they condemn this (terrorist attacks) because this would help the majority of the Islamic people; but to say it from the mouth of their leaders".

Relations between Catholics and Orthodox were the subject of a lengthy consideration, from the reality of the Middle East where "there are many Christian martyrs today: they are driving from the Middle East. And from this martyrdom which regards the various Christian denominations the 'ecumenism of blood" is born. "Our martyrs are shouting to us, we are one, we have a unity in the spirit and in blood".

Continuing on the subject of dialogue with the Orthodox he said that it was a journey. If we have to wait for the theologians to agree - he said with a joke quoting Paul VI - that day will never come! I am sceptical: theologians work well but Athenagoras said: "Let us put theologians on an island to discuss among themselves and we'll just get on with things!" Unity is a journey we need to go on together, it is spiritual ecumenism, praying together, working together". "The Eastern catholic Churches have a right to exist, but uniatism is a dated word, another solution needs to be found". He reiterated his willingness to meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. "I told Patriarch Kiril, we can meet wherever you want, you call me and I'll come. But he has a lot on his plate at the moment  what with the war in Ukraine". With regard to the primacy issue, the Pope reiterated the willingness of John Paul II to discuss the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, regarding a form of exercise of this ministry  help that is also acceptable all. " We have to look back at the first millennium to find an acceptable solution. I am not saying the Church did everything wrong (in the second millennium), no, no! It paved its historic path. But now the way forward is to follow John Paul II's request".

But the Church - he added - has the bad and sinful habit of being too inward-looking, as if it believes it shines of its own light. The Church does not have its own light, it needs to look at Jesus Christ. Divisions exist because the Church has been focusing on itself too much.When one focuses on oneself, one becomes self-referential. He therefore hoped that Christians can celebrate Easter on the same date.

The Pope also reiterated his willingness to travel to Iraq: But right now cannot. "I For now, it is not possible. If I went right now, it would be a problem for the authorities, for security... But I would love to go and I want to go".

He then reaffirmed its view that humanity is experiencing a third world war in pieces. There are enmities but there are economic causes, there is "the god of money" that "is the focus and not the human person." "Arms trafficking is terrible", and is today one of the most flourishing business. " In September last year, there was talk of Syria possessing chemical weapons: I do not believe Syria is in a position to produce chemical weapons. Who sold them these? Some of those who accused them of having them in the first place perhaps? There is a great mystery surrounding this weapons business".

As for nuclear weapons he said that humanity has not yet learned the lesson.

To a question on the celebrations next year of the Armenian Genocide, he spoke of the letter written by Erdogan on the subject: some have criticized judging it "too weak" but - he said - "he was reaching out and this is always positive. Regardless of whether I hold my hand out a little or a lot, this is always a positive thing. The Turkish-Armenian border is an issue that is very close to my heart: it would be wonderful if that border could be opened!.

He then spoke about the visit to the Blue Mosque. Here - he said - I felt the need to pray especially for peace. And on interreligious dialogue he explained that it is time to make a quantum leap because it is not a theological dialogue but experiential "between people of different religious affiliations."

Finally, responding to a question on the discussions on homosexuality during the recent work of the Synod, he pointed out that "the Synod is a path, it is a journey" and the opinion of a person or of a draft document cannot be considered in isolation. "The Synod - he concluded "is not a parliament," but "a safe space where the Holy Spirit in order for the Holy Spirit to speak".


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