In a meeting with African bishops Monday, Pope Francis called for more careful instruction for seminarians on dealing with Muslims.
“I think it is important that the clergy receive a more structured training in the seminary in order to carry out a constructive dialogue with Muslims, a dialogue ever more necessary to live a peaceful coexistence with them,” he said.
The Pope noted that Africa presents a special situation for Christians because Islam is “strongly majoritarian” in many places. He added that there are great differences from place to place in the “conditions of reciprocal relations” with Islam.
The Pope added that if all of us who believe in God want to serve reconciliation, justice, and peace, “we must work together to outlaw all forms of discrimination, intolerance and sectarian fundamentalism.” On the Church’s part, he said, she “must constantly bear witness to the love of God, the Creator of all men, making no distinction among religions in her social action.”
“Dear brother bishops,” Francis concluded, “some of your churches are small and fragile but brave and generous in announcing the faith, and you have testified to their real dynamism. I thank God for the wonders He has done among you, and I thank you, and I also thank all those involved in this common work of evangelization.”
“Of course, there are challenges,” the Pope said, “but I encourage you to go resolutely forward, confident that the Spirit of Jesus guides you, because He ‘helps us in our weakness.’”