Pope Francis promises to celebrate peace and diversity in his much-anticipated Morocco visit.
In a two-minute video published by Vatican News, the pontiff thanked the King for allowing him to use his country as a platform to preach the messages of mutual understanding, tolerance, forgiveness, and interfaith dialogue that have come to define the pope’s tenure as the highest authority of the Catholic church.
“Assalamou Alaykoum dear people of the Kingdom of Morocco,” the pope said, starting off with the traditional Moroccan and Islamic greeting.
The message continued, addressing Moroccans and their King: “I will soon pay a two-day visit to your country. I praise the Lord for the opportunity that he is offering me. I am also thankful towards His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his caring invitation and the generous collaboration of Moroccan officials.”
Focus on peace and togetherness
In line with his usual message of dialogue and togetherness between world religions, Pope Francis underlined the critical importance of rapprochement between Islam and Christianity for the future of world peace.
As the two major and most expanding religions, Pope Francis suggested, Islam and Christianity have an even greater role to play in the world today in the face of people using the two religions for their own political and ideological ends.
“As Muslims and Christians, we all believe in one God, the creator and most merciful who created men and established them in a shared world so that they live together as brothers and sisters and help each other in times of need.”
Condemning what he perceives as the political instrumentalization of religions, the pope said that the purpose of all religions is to bear witness to God’s design when he created human beings: Embracing diversity and “responsibly preserving the earth for future generations.”
Pope Francis said, “I will be more than happy to directly share with you these profound convictions of mine.”
During his visit, Pope Francis will meet with Morocco’s Christian community. A fervent defender of migrants’ rights, the pontiff will also spare some of his time for Morocco’s migrant community. To them, too, Pope Francis said he will convey “encouraging messages” of peace and togetherness.
“Dear Moroccan friends, I sincerely thank you for your hospitality and your prayers, reiterating my own prayers for you and your beloved country. See you soon,” the message concluded.