New pope pledges to reach out to Islam, other religions
Vatican City - Pope Francis pledged Friday to strengthenties between the Catholic Church and other religions, particularly with Islam.
His predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, pursued the same objective, but unwillingly caused an uproar in 2006, when he quoted a Byzantine Christian emperor as saying that the prophet Mohammed brought "things only evil and inhuman." "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," Francis said.
In a speech to diplomats accredited to the Holy See, the pontiff said he "greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world" at his inauguration mass onTuesday.
Francis also said it was "important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so 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."//DPA