“TOGETHER, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS MUST SAY NO TO HATRED, NO TO REVENGE AND NO TO VIOLENCE!”

Pope Francis tweeted today. The time has come for new messengers of Christ, ever more generous, more joyful and more holy.

This will be a rather abbreviated column as, in the midst of busyness on so many upcoming projects – WHAM! –  I received an email with a pdf copy of my about-to-be-released book, “A Holy Year in Rome.” and that changed my afternoon agenda a bit! I was very moved and excited to check this out and I’m afraid I lost some time in exploring what promises to be (all modesty aside!) a real best seller! I’ll let you know very soon when and how it will be available!

Today’s projects included researching and writing some material for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” preparing for my three weekly radio shows and editing an interview for “Vatican Insider” this weekend.

Be sure to tune in tonight to “At Home” when I will be bringing news from Rome about Pope Francis’ amazing, just completed six-day, three-nation apostolic trip to Africa.  As you know, “At Home” airs Mondays and Thursdays at 2 pm ET.

One of Pope Francis’ most important moments in the conflict-ridden Central African Republic took place this morning when he met with Muslims at the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui. The sad thing about the CAR conflict is that is is a question of a Muslim-Christian conflict. The Pope’s remarks today were very important so I bring you Vatican Radio’s report on that encounter.

Hopefully the Holy Father will rest a bit tomorrow and then tell us all about his remarkable days in Kenya, Uganda and the Central Africa Republic at the Wednesday general audience.

By the way, things are progressing quite nicely in St. Peter’s Square for Christmas. I was briefly in the square this afternoon but did not have my camera so will return tomorrow to take some photos of the building of the Nativity scene – il presepio – in St. Peter’s Square, just in front of the obelisk, and the very colorful decorations on the Christmas tree which is to the right of the obelisk. In past years there have been only silver and gold-colored ornaments but this year they are multi-colored and delightful.

This seems to be an afternoon of gifts.  I just received a lengthy phone call from a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre regarding my investiture as a Lady into the Order on December 18 and 19!  I am very excited and also very humbled to have been invited into the Order, but more than anything I am overjoyed to be able to play some small part in helping Christians in the Holy Land that I love so much!

More later about all of these exciting events!

“TOGETHER, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS MUST SAY NO TO HATRED, NO TO REVENGE AND NO TO VIOLENCE!”

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday morning visited the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, meeting with the city’s Muslim community.

The Holy Father was welcomed to the mosque by the Grand Imam Nehedi Tidjani, along with four other Imam, who accompanied him to the podium.

CAR - Grand Mosque

In his address, Pope Francis recalled the recent violence which has rocked the country, saying “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”

“We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. […] Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.  God is peace, God salam.”

Recalling the upcoming national consultations, the Holy Father said, “We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.  I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession.  The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent.”

Below, please find Pope Francis’ prepared remarks to the Muslim Community of Bangui:

Address of Pope Francis

Meeting with the Muslim Community

Bangui, Central Mosque

30 November 2015

Dear Muslim friends, leaders and followers of Islam,

It is a great joy for me to be with you and I thank you for your warm welcome.  In a particular way I thank Imam Tidiani Moussa Naibi for his kind words of greeting.  My Pastoral Visit to the Central African Republic would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community.

Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.  We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such.  We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives.  Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace.  Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years.  They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good.  Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.  God is peace, God salam.

In these dramatic times, Christian and Muslim leaders have sought to rise to the challenges of the moment.  They have played an important role in re-establishing harmony and fraternity among all.  I would like express my gratitude and appreciation for this.  We can also call to mind the many acts of solidarity which Christians and Muslims have shown with regard to their fellow citizens of other religious confessions, by welcoming them and defending them during this latest crisis in your country, as well as in other parts of the world.

We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.  I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession.  The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent.  It will prove a positive influence and help extinguish the smouldering tensions which prevent Africans from benefitting from that development which they deserve and to which they have a right.

Dear friends, dear brothers, I invite you to pray and work for reconciliation, fraternity and solidarity among all people, without forgetting those who have suffered the most as a result of recent events.

May God bless you and protect you! Salam alaikum!

 

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