Pope Francis calls for unity among religions

By: SAMUEL KARANJA

Pope Francis has stressed the need for interreligious harmony in Kenya, saying it is for the common good of all.

The head of the Catholic Church, however, admitted it was not easy bridging the rift among different religions.

He insisted that all faiths must have a meeting point if the world is to live in harmony.

“To be honest, this relationship is challenging; it makes demands of us. Yet ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is not a luxury. It is not something extra or optional, but essential, something which our world, wounded by conflict and division, increasingly needs,” said the pontiff.

He especially called for unity between Muslims and Christians in Kenya, citing the various terror attacks mostly targeted at Christians by criminals associating themselves with the Muslim faith.

The Pope was speaking on Thursday morning during an interreligious meeting in Lavington, Nairobi.

DEMOCRATIC AND PLURALISTIC SOCIETY

“In democratic and pluralistic societies like Kenya, cooperation between religious leaders and communities becomes an important service to the common good,”

“In this light, and in an increasingly interdependent world, we see, ever more clearly, the need for interreligious understanding, friendship and collaboration in defending the God-given dignity of individuals and peoples, and their right to live in freedom and happiness,” he added.

Pope Francis also mentioned some of the terror attacks in the country, which he said were still “fresh on you minds”.

“I know that the barbarous attacks on Westgate Mall, Garissa University College and Mandera are fresh in your minds,” said Pope Francis, while emphasising the need to uphold human dignity.

Speaking while welcoming the Pope to the meeting, the head of the Anglican Church in Kenya, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said Pope Francis’ presence in the country would be of “great encouragement for all the Christians of Kenya” as they journey in their faith.

ENCOURAGE CHRISTIANS IN ALL CHURCHES

“We pray that your visit will encourage Christians throughout all churches in Africa, to continue steadfastly upholding the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while influencing society positively and constructively,” said Archbishop Wabukala.

“As religious leaders, we have a duty to promote justice, rightfulness, love, truthfulness, faithfulness and hopefulness”, said Prof Abdulghafur El-Busaidy, the national chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem), who also spoke during the event.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION