Speaking on Friday at an audience held for diplomats accredited to the Vatican, Pope Francis is calling to “intensify dialogue” between Christianity and Islam.
He noted the pope is also known as the “pontiff”–or “a builder of bridges”–and that St. Francis was a peacemaker, reports CNS News.
“In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God,” said the pope.
“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.”
There is hope among many that the new pontiff can have an impact on world events being shaped more and more by radical Islam, much like the charismatic Pope John Paul II did in opposition to communism.
Polish-born John Paul is credited by many as being instrumental, along with President Ronald Reagan, in toppling communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.
Poles widely credit the pontiff’s first visit to his homeland as the inspiration for Solidarity’s birth, as noted on the Reagan Legacy Foundation web site. During a Mass in Warsaw in 1979, John Paul used subtle language to suggest that Poles should try to change their system, a message not lost on the receptive nation.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev once said, “The collapse of the “Iron Curtain” would have been impossible without John Paul II.”
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