Pope urges religious tolerance during Kenya visit

'The god whom we seek to serve is a god of peace. His holy name must never be used to justify hatred and violence,' Pope Francis says

Pope urges religious tolerance during Kenya visit

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pope Francis has urged Kenyans to respect all religions, reminding them that they all serve a god of peace.

In remarks made to religious leaders in the Kenyan capital Nairobi as part of his five-day trip to Africa, the pontiff highlighted the need for inter-religious understanding, friendship and collaboration in defending the dignity of individuals and peoples, and their right to live in freedom and happiness.

He urged religious leaders to respect their neighbor’s religions as they play a vital role in forming consciences and instill the youth with profound spiritual values.

“Here, I think of the importance of our common conviction that the god whom we seek to serve is a god of peace. His holy name must never be used to justify hatred and violence,” Pope Francis said, adding that the recent attacks on Westgate mall, Garissa University and Mandera in Kenya were still fresh in every Kenyan’s life.

He urged all Kenyans to treat each other as brothers and sisters irrespective of their religious beliefs.

The pontiff noted that during his trips to foreign countries, it was vital for him to meet with leaders from different religions to preach on peaceful coexistence.

“It is my hope that our time together may be a sign of the church’s esteem for the followers of all religions; may it strengthen the bonds of friendship which we already enjoy,” Pope Francis said.

He admitted that the relationship between different religions was challenging and demanded a lot from both sides. “It is not something extra or optional, but essential, something which our world, wounded by conflict and division, increasingly needs,” he said.

More than 200,000 Catholics attended Pope Francis’ first Mass in Kenya at the University of Nairobi, which was viewed at all major parks in the Kenyan capital; the government estimates that around 1.2 million Kenyans travelled to Nairobi to pray with the pope.

One of the participants, Sister Richard Florence, said that she hoped that the pontiff’s visit would augur well for the region.  “My prayer is that his visit may bring peace and tranquility in our country Kenya, that is my prayer,” she said.

As the Pope led thousands in prayers, he called on Catholics in Kenya to spread peace, unity and tolerance.

Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta also attended the Mass.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2015, 17:00