ROME – Reflecting upon his recent apostolic journey to Morocco, Pope Francis said Wednesday that God desires a greater sense of fraternity among Catholics and Muslims as “brother children of Abraham.”
“Some may ask, ‘But why does the pope visit the Muslims and not only the Catholics?’” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square April 3.
“With Muslims, we are descendants of the same father, Abraham,” he said. “What God wants is fraternity between us in a special way,” he added, noting that this was the motive behind his travels.
Pope Francis offered thanks to God that his trip to the Moroccan capital of Rabat March 30-31 was “another step on the path of dialogue and encounter with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
“My pilgrimage has followed in the footsteps of two saints: Francis of Assisi and John Paul II,” he explained.
“Eight hundred years ago Francis brought the message of peace and fraternity to the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil, and in 1985 Pope Wojtyła made his memorable visit to Morocco, having received at the Vatican – first among the Muslim heads of state – King Hassan II,” he said.
On his first day in Morocco, Pope Francis signed an “Appeal for Jerusalem,” with the Moroccan King Mohammed VI. The joint-declaration called for Jerusalem to be preserved as a “peaceful place of meeting for the three monotheistic religions,” the pope explained.
Religions have the essential role of “defending human dignity and promoting peace, justice and care for creation, that is our home common,” Francis said.