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Card. Parolin: Pope's UAE visit opens new page in interreligious relations

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin says Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to the United Arab Emirates represents a new stage in interreligious relations.

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis sets off Sunday for his visit to Abu Dhabi on 3-5 February. 

"It is the first time that a Pope is going to the United Arab Emirates and, more generally, to the Arabic Peninsula", says Cardinal Parolin.

He calls it an important moment because the Holy Father is visiting a land that could be considered a bridge between East and West. "At the same time it is a land of multiculturalism, multi-ethnicity, and multi-religion," he points out.

Rediscover common humanity

Cardinal Parolin says the Pope's message to leaders of other religions will be one of fraternity. In our common humanity, he says, "we are all brothers and sisters, because we have the same dignity, we have the same duties and rights, and we have the same vocation to build a better world: a world of peace and reconciliation."

Interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Parolin says, can help us to rediscover our common humanity. This includes fighting against fundamentalism and legalism, "which is just the opposite of every religion and of our common belonging to a same community of brothers and sisters."

Confirm Christians in faith

Pope Francis is also going to the UAE to meet with the region's Christian community, which Cardinal Parolin says numbers around 3 million of mostly expatriates.

"The presence of the Pope will be an encouragement" for Christians, he says, so they can "continue to be a vibrant community" and "to strengthen their witness and their contribution for the construction of a world of dialogue, reconciliation, and peace."

02 February 2019, 15:30