Vatican City, 17 June (AKI) – Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday greeted a group of religious leaders participating in an international inter-faith conference organised by Catholic bishops in Rome. “I commend this initiative organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference in collaboration with the Italian ministry of foreign affairs”, said the Pope at the end of his audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.Â
Former bishops and patriarchs as well as followers from the Catholic Church in the Middle East were among the delegation led by patriarch of the Syrian Catholic church, Ignace Youssif Younan, the pontiff said.
“Thus maintaining a living bond between the Eastern Christian tradition and the bishop of Rome,” he said, sending his personal greeting to Patriarch Youssif.
Benedict who last month made an historic visit to Jordan and Israel stressed the importance of the the inter-religious dialogue conference in Rome.
“I am confident that it will do much to draw the attention of world political leaders to the importance of religions within the social fabric of every society and to the grave duty to ensure that their deliberations and policies support and uphold the common good,” he said.
A mass will be conducted at Rome’s basilica of St. Mary on Thursday according to the Syriac-Antiochean rite and will be attended by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
“I would like to express my solicitude and concern for all the Eastern Catholic churches, encouraging them to continue the ecclesiatical mission, though beset by many difficulties, in order to build universal unity and peace,” the pope concluded.