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Pope lauds efforts to fight misuse of religion

Pope makes sense; doesn't embarrass Christians.

October 13 2006

Religion isnít something one should never use to justify hatred and violence, feels Pope Benedict XVI. At a meeting with a Jewish group in Vatican on Thursday, the Pope praised every effort to rid faiths of such misuse.

Significantly, the comments came a month after the Popeís speech at a German university sparked anger in the Muslim world following his statement quoting a medieval text that characterized some of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as ``evil and inhuman'' and called Islam a religion spread by the sword.

It may be recalled that the speech had triggered quite an uproar . Benedict had expressed his regrets for offending Muslims following this incident, saying that the quote didn't reflect his own opinion. He had then clarified that his address was intended as an invitation to a frank dialogue between religions.

And on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI echoed the same call at the meeting, saying that while Catholic-Jewish relations have greatly improved over recent years, initial steps toward a more open conversation on religious themes have so far been too tentative. According to him, it is at this level of frank dialogue that one can find the basis and motivation for a solid and fruitful relationship.

Reports quoting the leaders of the Jewish group ADL which held the meeting with the Pope agreed with his desire for honest interfaith dialogue.

Stressing his condemnation of anti-Semitism, the Pope is learnt to have said that the Church deplores all forms of hatred or persecution directed against the Jews and all displays of anti-Semitism at any time and from any source.''

Reports quoting the ADL leaders said that the Pope has also reiterated that he will always be available as a voice against anti-Semitism.


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