News / Europe

World Religious Leaders Welcome Pope Francis

Pope Francis greets Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (r) as he celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals, inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
Pope Francis greets Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (r) as he celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals, inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
As Catholics around the world welcome newly elected Pope Francis, proponents of other global faiths are also reacting to the new Vatican leader with congratulations and hope for renewed ties.
 
The Saudi Arabia-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 countries, said Thursday it hopes the election of a new pope will signal improved relations between Islam and Christianity.

In a congratulatory letter, the organization's secretary-general said he hoped cordiality and a "sincere friendship" would be renewed.

A senior Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, also congratulated the new pope, extending an invitation from Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority:

"President Abbas extended an invitation to his holiness to visit the Holy Land - to visit Jerusalem, to visit Bethlehem," said Erekat. "We congratulate the pope, we congratulate the Vatican. And President Abbas is determined to continue exerting every possible effort in order to foster [improved] relations between Palestine and the city of Vatican."

Al Azhar University in Cairo, the center of Islamic learning, said it hoped for "better relations with the Vatican" under Pope Francis.

Relations between the Vatican and the Muslim world were strained during the papacy of Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation last month.

In a speech at Regensburg University in Germany in 2006, Benedict's comments were interpreted as an attack on Islam. He had recounted an anecdote in which the Prophet Muhammad was portrayed as spreading his faith through violence, "by the sword."

Other faiths have also welcomed the newly elected head of the Roman Catholic Church.

"The holy pope is a meaningful leader for all of us, not just for the Catholic community," said Israeli President Shimon Peres, who spoke in Jerusalem on Thursday.

In Moscow, Father Kirill Gorbunov of the Church of the Immaculate Conception said relations between the Russian Orthodox Church, where most faithful Russians are members, would be close with the new pope.

"I remember the words of one representative of the Russian Orthodox Church toward the new pope [from] Buenos Aires, who remembered that the pope had visited the Orthodox Church, who was assured that this is a man who knows and loves the Orthodox faith. These words show that for this pope the Orthodox Church isn't something foreign," said Gorbunov.

Pope Francis was chosen on Wednesday as the first Latin American leader of the Catholic Church.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid