Pope seeks more freedom in theology, dialogue with Islam

Epigraph:

Say, ‘O People of the Book! come to a word equal between us and you — that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take not others for Lords beside Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.’ (Al Quran 3:64/65)

POPE GENERAL AUDIENCE

Pope Francis.  The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles about interfaith tolerance.  Suggested reading: How Islam has Influenced the Christian understanding of God

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called Friday for a reform of the way theology is taught in Catholic schools, saying students must learn about dialogue with Judaism and Islam, and that overall there must be greater freedom in theological research and academic pursuits.

The Jesuit pope made the call during a speech at the Jesuit-run theology university in Naples. It follows his outreach this year to the Muslim world with the signing of a joint statement with the imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar, the seat of Sunni learning, establishing the relationship between Catholics and Muslims as brothers, with a common mission to promote peace.

Michael-Servetus-Quotes

In his speech, Francis said dialogue and partnership with the Muslim world is necessary “to build a peaceful existence, even when there are the troublesome episodes by fanatic enemies of dialogue.”

Catholic theology students must learn the culture, language and way of thinking of Jews and Muslims “to better understand and live out our relationship,” he said.

After the theologically doctrinaire papacies of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Francis has stressed instead the need to “walk together” with interfaith partners, often joking that theologians should ruminate on a deserted island while religious leaders press ahead with dialogue on the ground. He has also called for a more pastoral, merciful and conscience-driven approach to sticky theological problems, such as Communion for the civilly remarried.

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