Vatican City: Pope Francis has expressed his “appreciation and gratitude” to Jordan’s King Abdullah “for his attention to the Christian communities not only in his country, but also to those living in the entire Middle East region, particularly in times which are marked by conflicts and violence.”
The leader of the Catholic Church praised the king during an audience with participants in the Sixth Colloquium between the Vatican Dicastery for Inter-Religious Dialogue and the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies.
The pope said the king “never stops repeating that Christians are indigenous to those blessed lands,” and recalled that the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, established in 1994 in Amman under the patronage of Prince Hassan bin Talal, “has among its main objectives the preservation and enhancement of Arab Christian heritage.”
In this regard, the pontiff said: “I can only express further gratitude, because this not only benefits the Christian citizens of yesterday and today, but also protects and consolidates this heritage throughout the Middle East, so diverse and rich in ethnicities, religions, cultures, languages and traditions.”
He added that the dialogue practiced and promoted between Christians and Muslims requires sincerity and mutual respect if it is to be fruitful, with “an awareness of both convergences and divergences.”