Naples, Italy, Jun 21, 2019 / 05:39 am
In Naples Friday Pope Francis delivered a speech calling for theological dialogue with Islam and Judaism in pontifical universities as part of “a theology of dialogue and acceptance.”
“Theology students should be educated in dialogue with Judaism and Islam to understand the common roots and differences of our religious identities, and thus contribute more effectively to building a society that values diversity and fosters respect, brotherhood and peaceful coexistence,” Pope Francis said June 21 in front of Naples’ Jesuit-run pontifical Catholic university.
“With Muslims we are called to dialogue to build the future of our societies and our cities; we are called to consider them partners to build a peaceful coexistence, even when there are shocking episodes by fanatical groups, who are enemies of dialogue, like the tragedy of last Easter in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Pope Francis’ 30-minute speech in Naples presented his vision of “theology in the context of the Mediterrarean,” an area, he said, of transit, exchange, and historic conflict that is now called to be a bridge between Europe, Africa, and Asia.
“The multicultural and multi-religious reality of the new Mediterranean is formed … in the dialogue that comes from listening to the people and texts of the great monotheistic religions, and especially in listening to young people,” Francis said.
The pope’s message focused on theological study within pontifical universities as outlined in the apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium published in January 2018. Veritatis Gaudium stipulated new norms of governance and education for all institutions that issue ecclesiastical degrees.
“In theological faculties and ecclesiastical universities, courses in Arabic and Hebrew language and culture are to be encouraged, as well as mutual understanding between Christian, Jewish and Muslim students,” he said.”
“I would say that theology, particularly in this context, is called to be a theology of acceptance,” Pope Francis said.